Then Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi was accused of taking kickbacks in Bofors arms case 2 MPs asked CBI to challenge 2005 order cancelling proceedings in case Case a ‘systemic failure, reflection of criminality’, MPs reportedly said
The decades-old Bofors arms case involving allegations of kickbacks to then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and other top officials when the Congress was in power should be reopened and the CBI should ask for the government’s permission to go to the Supreme Court for it, a group of MPs has said.
The investigating agency has been given two weeks to report back to a parliamentary panel on the action it has taken.
In a meeting on Thursday of the panel, which examines defence matters, several members including its chief Bhartruhari Mahtab, a BJD lawmaker, and BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, reportedly said the CBI must challenge the Delhi High Court’s 2005 order cancelling the arms case.
“The case is a clear example of systemic failure and reflection of criminality. Therefore, the panel feels that CBI must seek permission from the government to reopen the case by filing a plea in Supreme Court,” Mr Dubey and Mr Mahtab said, reported news agency PTI quoting two unnamed MPs who attended the meeting.
CBI Director Alok Verma was asked why the investigating agency did not go to the Supreme Court earlier. The MPs were reportedly told that the CBI’s request for a go-ahead was denied by the Congress-led UPA, which was in power.
The CBI Chief and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra were among the officials who appeared before the panel.
The panel of six MPs is examining what it says is the “oldest” report pending before it – an auditor’s report on the 1986 Bofors howitzer gun deal.
The Bofors case devastated the Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s and ruined the party’s prospects of returning to power for years.
The scandal swirled around allegations that Swedish defence manufacturer Bofors paid huge kickbacks to Rajiv Gandhi and others for the sale of its artillery gun to India. The High Court said there was no evidence that Rajiv Gandhi had accepted bribes. Rajiv Gandhi – Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s husband and Rahul Gandhi’s father – was assassinated in 1991.me