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Opposition asks government to explain Bofors disclosures

Delhi,Politics, Wed, 25 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left Wednesday asked the government to give an explanation on former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom's disclosures on the Bofors payoff scandal, including the safe passage to main accused Ottavio Quattrochchi.


Stating that it had always questioned the safe passage to Italian businessman Quattrochchi in the Rs.1,500 crore Bofors gun deal in the 1980s, BJP alleged that he was close to the Gandhi family and sought the government's apology to the nation for letting him go free. The main opposition party is also planning to raise the issue in parliament.


"The entire government of late Rajiv Gandhi was out to secure Ottavio Quattrochchi. What was his link with the government and with the Gandhi family that the entire government was there to bail him out... it is a serious matter," said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.


"Government should respond and government should apologise to the nation," he said.


"He was close to the Gandhi family... the role of Quattrochchi should be probed by an independent agency, and so should be the role of the CBI officials who said there was no evidence against him," said Prasad.


The BJP parliamentary party meeting also decided to raise the issue in parliament once again. Prasad said the party would seek a structured debate on the issue.


"There was discussion at length on the Bofors scam (in the parliamentary party meeting)... we will raise the issue in parliament, we will have a structured debate on it," he said, adding that the issue was not raised Wednesday as many important legislations were pending and opposition did not want to disrupt the house.


His colleague Rajiv Pratap Rudy added: "The way Quattrochchi was helped to move out of the country gave a clear indication of the government's intention. We have always raised the question on Quattrochchi. The government must look into the issue again".


The Communist Party of India (CPI) sought the government's response on Lindstrom's revelations.


"The government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cannot ignore this revelation. They have to come forward with a response on how Quattrochchi was allowed or could go scott free or could have a safe passage from India," said CPI leader D. Raja.


In an interview to website, Lindstrom, who had operated under pseudonym Swedish Deep Throat, said there was no evidence to show that Gandhi had taken a bribe in the Bofors deal but he didn't stop the cover-up to protect Quattrochi.


Lindstrom also said that the case against actor and then Congress MP Amitabh Bachchan and his family was planted in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter by Indian investigators.


"We knew the truth 25 years back but justice takes its own time and our stand has been vindicated," said Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan.


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