The Bofors Scandal

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  • Topic: Rajiv Gandhi, Bofors scandal, Ottavio Quattrocchi
  • Pages : 2 (712 words )
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  • Published : December 13, 2010
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The Bofors scandal was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s; the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB for winning a bid to supply India's 155 mm field howitzer. The scale of the corruption was far worse than any that India had seen before, and directly led to the defeat of Gandhi's ruling Indian National Congress party in the November 1989 general elections. It has been speculated that the scale of the scandal was to the tune of Rs. 400 million.[1] The case came to light during Vishwanath Pratap Singh's tenure as defence minister, and was revealed through investigative journalism by Chitra Subramaniam and N. Ram of the newspapers the Indian Express and The Hindu.[2]

Ottavio Quattrocchi was accused as the middleman in the scandal because of his intimacy with Rajiv and his Italian-born wife Sonia Gandhi. Magazine cover from India Today

The name of the middleman associated with the scandal was Ottavio Quattrocchi, an Italian businessman who represented the petrochemicals firm Snamprogetti. Quattrocchi was reportedly close to the family of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and emerged as a powerful broker in the 1980s between big businesses and the Indian government. Even while the case was being investigated, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 for an unrelated cause. In 1997, the Swiss banks released some 500 documents after years of legal and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a case against Quattrocchi, Win Chadha, also naming Rajiv Gandhi, the defence secretary S. K. Bhatnagar and a number of others.[3] In the meantime, Win Chadha also died.[4]

Meanwhile February 5, 2004 the Delhi High Court quashed the charges of bribery against Rajiv Gandhi and others,[5] but the case is still being tried on charges of cheating, causing wrongful loss to the Government, etc. On May 31, 2005, the High court of Delhi dismissed the Bofors case allegations against the British...
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