The long-running Bofors controversy may roil national politics again — the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is all set to support the appeal for reopening the case when the matter is heard by the Supreme Court. It is certainly a massive shock to Gandhi family as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told a parliamentary panel today that it may reopen the Bofors case.

The most famous Rs 64 crore payoff scandal which significantly contributed to the downfall of the Rajiv Gandhi government in the 1989 General Elections, and for 30 years has haunted the Congress.

The ball is in the court of law ministry which will take the further decision.

Last month, most members of this parliamentary panel of MPs on Defence had suggested that CBI must challenge in the Supreme Court the Delhi High Court’s 2005 order cancelling the Bofors case investigation.

It has been observed that this case is a “clear example of systemic failure and reflection of criminality”, members of the panel said, and urged the CBI to seek permission from the government to reopen the case by filing a plea in Supreme Court, so that Criminals can be brought to book.

On the other hand CBI has indicated that it is all set to support a petition pending in the Supreme Court, which challenges the decision to cancel the case.

Parliamentary panel members also questioned CBI Director Alok Verma that 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. This seems to be a clear case of Political influencing the case by the UPA government and more specifically the Gandhi family.

The panel of six MPs is examining what it says is the “oldest” report pending before it is 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. Bofors case 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 allegations first emerged on Swedish Radio on April 16, 1987. Later on V.P. Singh made this issue as a cornerstone for his election campaign and was able to become the PM of India on the issue to eradicate the corruption.

Later of 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 later assassinated in 1991, while attending an elections campaign rally in Tamilnadu.


Manish Sharma

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