Bofors Scandel – What is it?
It is one of of India’s most (in)famous corruption scandal, where Swedish manufacturer AB Bofors is accused of paying illegal commissions to Indian politicians to get the deal done. It was a Swedish Radio broadcast which first reported on this case(1987) and the report was further followed up by The Hindu’s correspondent Chitra Subramaniam. The time period of the Bofors deal was March 1986 and the deal was worth Rs. 1,500 crore ($285 million).
Who all were involved in Bofors Case?
The prominent names among the accused included the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi(Delhi High Court cleared Rajiv Gandhi of his involvement in the scandal in 2004), Italian Business man Ottavio Quattrrocchi, Chadha, defence secretary S.K. Bhatnagar, former Bofors chief Martin Ardbo, the Hinduja brothers( quashed) and the Bofors company.
Why the Bofors scam in news again?
The Bofors scam hit the news headlines again when the former Swedish police chief Sten Lindström said in online interview that he was the one who leaked the documents to the media. With the main middle man Ottavio Quattrrocchi not yet arrested ( the case is closed by now), opposition is asking to re-open the case for a judicial inquiry.
Five must know points about Bofors scam
- The Bofors howitzers were used during the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan and proved to be effective. (High quality)
- The Bofors episode led to India reducing the order for the guns from the originally planned 1,500 to 410. Since then, India has not bought a single artillery gun, even though the army requires it.
- Indian army is in shortage of quality guns like the Bofors and has recently the Ordinance Factory Board to upgrade the Bofors technology and produce guns to meet the army’s needs.
- “The correct weapon was acquired, it was acquired in a wrong manner…” – senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh.
- Admitting that the NDA had failed to get Quattrocchi extradited after his arrest in Malaysia, Mr. Singh said, “Many will say why did you not do it. You have failed, we have failed. But don’t consider our failure as your success.”