New Delhi: The ghost of Bofors has returned again and former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi and Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan are the two men who are once again at the centre of it. 25 years after the sensational Bofors gun scam broke, Sweden's chief investigator Sten Lindstrom, who conducted the investigations, has done some plain speak. Sten Lindstrom has owned up to being the informant of journalist Chitra Subramanian who had broken the story.
According to him, Amitabh Bachchan's name was planted by Indian investigating agencies and Rajiv Gandhi was not a direct recipient of any bribe in the scandal. Speaking on Rajiv Gandhi, Lindstrom said, "There was no evidence that Rajiv Gandhi had received any bribe. But he watched the massive cover-up in India and Sweden and did nothing."
Speaking on Amitabh Bachchan, he said, "They gave me a list of names to pursue including the name of Amitabh Bachchan. The Indian investigators planted the Bachchan angle."
Reacting to the revelation, Jaya Bachchan said, "How does it matter now?"
On the role of Rajiv Gandhi's close friend Arun Nehru, Lindstrom said, "Martin Arbdo, the then Managing Director of Bofors, had written in his notes that the identity of N (Nehru) becoming public was a minor concern but at no cost could the identity of Q (Quattrocchi) be revealed because of his closeness to R (Rajiv Gandhi). He had also mentioned a meeting between an AE Services official and a Gandhi trustee lawyer in Geneva. This was a political payment."
The revelations were interpreted differently by the BJP and the Congress. "We always knew that Rajiv Gandhi was innocent, this just proves our point," Law Minister Salman Khurshid said.
Addressing a media conference, BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, "The way Quattrocchi was helped to move out of the country gave a clear indication of the government's intention. We have always raised the question on Quattrocchi."
Another senior BJP leader, Murli Manohar Joshi, said that the government must look into the issue again, alleging that several people were yet to be named. He said that the names must come out.
BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, "The CBI never did its job properly."
Sensing that questions may once again be posed against its own conduct and why it met Sten only once, the CBI was quick to issue a clarification. It responded saying, "As a policy, they never meet any investigating agency in foreign countries, they only send letter rogatories."
The Bofors revelation that led to the decline of the Rajiv Gandhi government still evokes sharp reactions. The BJP has now demanded fresh investigation into the case.