BJP Using Bofors Issue to Hide Its Failures: Congress

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Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala.

“The decision of the Delhi High Court in the Bofors case established how Congress leadership, including (former Prime Minister) Rajiv Gandhi, was a victim of the smear campaign of the BJP decades ago,” Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

NEW DELHI (IANS) — The Congress on Saturday accused the BJP government of conspiring against it, saying it (the CBI moving SC to reopen Bofors case) was being done to “save itself from facing public backlash in the 2019 general elections” and to divert attention from its failures.

“The decision of the Delhi High Court in the Bofors case established how Congress leadership, including (former Prime Minister) Rajiv Gandhi, was a victim of the smear campaign of the BJP decades ago,” Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters here.

Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Surjewala said: “The smear campaign of the BJP against the Congress was exposed in 1991 by the people’s mandate. And even after the death of Rajiv Gandhi the top courts exposed their conspiracies.”

The Congress leader was referring to the Delhi High Court ruling of February 4, 2004, giving a clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi in the Rs 64-crore Bofors pay-off case.

The court in its order said that no convincing evidence has been brought before it to prove that he received any kickbacks in the Rs 1,437 crore deal to buy 155 mm Howitzer guns from AB Bofors of Sweden.

Surjewala’s remarks came a day after the CBI filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the 2005 Delhi High Court verdict discharging Britain-based Hinduja brothers — Srichand, Gopichand and Prakash Hinduja — in the case of alleged corruption in the purchase of Bofors 155 mm howitzers.

Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, Surjewala alleged that the “conspirator BJP government under Modiji is indulging in cheap politics by using the Bofors issue again to divert the attention of the public from the real issues”.

“A failed Modi government is using such cheap tricks to save itself from being dethroned in 2019.

“They are indulging in cheap politics but they are not going to succeed,” the Congress leader said.

Surjewala also said that even Attorney General K.K. Venugopal in his letter said that there is no evidence or truth in the case.

“Despite that, after 27 years of the death of Rajiv Gandhi, filing an appeal in the courts exposes the Modi government,” he said.

The Rajiv Gandhi government (1984-89) was rocked over the allegations of kickbacks in the purchase of 155 mm howitzers from the Swedish arms manufacturer.

The CBI on January 22, 1990, registered an FIR for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the provisions of Indian Penal Code and sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Martin Ardbo, the then President of AB Bofors, alleged middleman Win Chadha and the Hindujas.

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