The CBI has expressed its desire to reopen the Bofors Guns case which had allegedly involved bribing the then-PM, Rajiv Gandhi, and several top politicians.
Last month, a majority of MPs on defense had said that the CBI must challenge the SC’s decision in 2005 of canceling the arms deal case. Now, the CBI has approached the government to allow it to reopen the case. The government is yet to decide. The CBI also revealed that they were denied permission to challenge the SC order earlier by the UPA government which was in power.
The Rs. 1,437 crore deal between Sweden and India to supply 155 MM Howitzer guns was entered on March 24, 1986. A year later, the Swedish radio had announced that the company, AB Bofors, claimed that they paid a huge sum in bribe to the PM and other government officials in India for the deal to come through. A panel of six MPs is now examining the case which has been tagged as the oldest pending report before it.
The revelation in the Bofors deal gave a strong jolt to the Rajiv Gandhi government at the center. It crushed all its hopes of returning to power for many years to come. In 1989, Prime Minister VP Singh’s government banned Bofors from entering into any defense deal with India.
Ottavio Quattrocchi, an Italian businessman, had allegedly acted as the middleman. However, Rajiv Gandhi mantained that no kickbacks were given and the deal did not have any middleman. CBI tried to extradite Quattrocchi several times but failed. Finally, on March 4, 2011, the court allowed CBI to withdraw the case against Quattrocchi.