New Delhi: Former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom has spoken out on the Bofors artillery guns payoff scandal, which broke out in 1987. Here, in a nutshell, is what he told the website thehoot.org on the Bofors gun deal that brought down the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989:
-- On the late Rajiv Gandhi:
There was no evidence that he had received any bribe. But he watched the massive cover-up in India and Sweden and did nothing. Many Indian institutions were tarred, innocent people were punished, while the guilty got away.
(Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber in May 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu)
-- Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrrocchi:
The evidence against Ottavio Quattrocchi was conclusive. Through a front company called A.E. Services, bribes paid by Bofors landed in Quattrocchi's account which he subsequently cleaned out because India said there was no evidence linking him to the Bofors deal. Nobody in Sweden or Switzerland was allowed to interrogate him.
(Proceedings against Quattrocchi have been dropped, his accounts defrozen, after the Delhi High Court accepted the CBI's plea to drop its case against him.)
-- Former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme:
He was talking peace, disarmament and sustainable development globally, while we were selling arms illegally, including to countries that were on our banned list.
(Olof Palme was assassinated by a gun-weilder in February 1996 in Stockholm)
-- Then Bofors managing director Martin Ardbo:
He was terrified about the fact (of payments to Ottavio Quattrocchi) becoming public. He had hidden it even from his own markeing director. Ardbo had written in his notes that...at no cost the identity of Q (Quattrrocchi) be revealed becasue of his closeness to R (Rajiv Gandhi). He had also mentioned a meeting between A.E. Services official and a Gandhi trustee lawyer in Geneva.
(Martin Ardbo died in July 2004. He was suffering from cancer)
-- Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan:
The Indian investigators (CBI) gave me a list of names to pursue, including the name of Amitabh Bachchan. During a trip to Sweden, the Indian investigators planted the Bachchan angle on DN (Dagens Nyhetter, a Swedish daily). The Bachchans took them to court in the UK and won.