Friday, April 8, 2011

Bofors Scam Year : 1987 Rs 64 crore

The Bofors scandal was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s; then the 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.... 
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. 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 battle 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.In the meantime, Win Chadha also died.
                                                              Meanwhile February 5, 2004, the Delhi High Court quashed the charges of bribery against Rajiv Gandhi and others, 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 business brothers, Shrichand, Gopichand and Prakash Hinduja . 
                                                        In December 2005, the Mr B. Daat, the additional solicitor general of India, acting on behalf of the Indian Government and the CBI, requested the British Government that two British bank accounts of Ottavio Quattrocchi be unfrozen on the grounds of insufficient evidence to link these accounts to the Bofors payoff. The two accounts, containing € 3 million and $1 million, had been frozen. On January 16, the Indian Supreme Court directed the Indian government to ensure that Ottavio Quattrocchi did not withdraw money from the two bank accounts in London. The CBI, the Indian federal law enforcement agency, on January 23, 2006 admitted that roughly Rs 21 crore, about US $4.6 million, in the two accounts have already been withdrawn. The British government released the funds based on a request by the Indian government. The deals cost the Government of India an extra 160 crore rupees.

A Delhi court discharged Quattrocchi from the case, as there was no credible evidence against him, on 4 March 2011

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