President Pranab Mukherjee has said that it has not been proven in any Indian court that the Bofors case was indeed a scandal. According to him, the Bofors ‘scandal’ was just a media trial.
The remarks have come just days before the President goes to Sweden for a visit.
Speaking to Swedish daily Dagens Nyhetter, Mukherjee said on being asked whether the Bofors case had been a media trial: “First of all – it is yet to be to be established that there was a scandal. No Indian court has established it. I was the defence minister of the country long after Bofors, and all my generals certified that this is one of the best guns we are having. Till today, Indian Army is using it. The so-called scandal which you talk of, yes, in the media, it was there. There was a media trial. But I’m afraid, let us not be too much carried by publicity.”
The President refused to comment on whether the Bofors scam was only a media scandal, but added, “I do not know. I’m not describing it, you’re putting that word. Don’t put that word. What I am saying is that in media it was publicised. But up to now, no Indian court has given any decisive verdict about the alleged scandal.”
The Indian government had inked the $285 million deal with Swedish arms company Bofors in 1986 to supply 155mm howitzer field guns.
However, Swedish media later claimed that Indian officials including politicians and defence personnel had received kick-backs to approve the deal. The scandal eventually led to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s defeat in elections three years later.