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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rajiv Gandhi`s name mentioned again in Bofors scam

Rajiv Gandhi`s name mentioned again in Bofors scam

Palash Biswas

  1. Wikileaks revelations on Rajiv Gandhi; opposition's launches attack ...► 1:18► 1:18

  2. www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuEQBA9-ql8

  3. Apr 8, 2013 - Uploaded by newsexpressonline

  4. For more News : http://www.youtube.com/newsexpressonlineWikileaks recent revelations on Rajiv Gandhi

  5. Quattrocchi was fully involved in the Bofors scam: N. Ram (part 1 ...► 2:39► 2:39

  6. www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUdAIseUeEY

  7. Jul 15, 2013 - Uploaded by ANImultimedia

  8. Chennai, July 14 (ANI): N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu on Sunday said that Controversial Italian ...

  9. Quattrocchi was fully involved in the Bofors scam: N. Ram (part 2 ...► 1:27► 1:27

  10. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILahXB1kPuk

  11. Jul 15, 2013 - Uploaded by ANImultimedia

  12. Chennai, July 14 (ANI): N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu on Sunday said that Controversial Italian ...

Bofors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bofors is a Swedish company. The name has been associated with the iron industry for more than 350 years. Located in Karlskoga, Sweden, the company ...

Bofors scandal

Haubits FH77 - Ottavio Quattrocchi - List of scandals in India - ...

Bofors 37 mm

The Bofors 37 mm gun was an anti-tank gun designed by Swedish ...

Bofors 40 mm gun

The Bofors 40 mm gun, often referred to simply as the Bofors ...

Bofors 283 mm gun

The Bofors 283 mm gun was a naval artillery used in the ...

HSwMS Gustav V

2 × 75 mm/53cal. Bofors AA M/1915 (2×1) 2 × 57 mm/21,3cal ...

Category:Bofors

Pages in category "Bofors". The following 16 pages are in this ...

Rajiv Gandhi`s name mentioned again in Bofors scam while India's desi Bofors dream has taken a slight knock. The barrel of the indigenously-developed version of the original Swedish155mm Bofors howitzer, which proved its worth by wreaking havoc against Pakistani intruders during the 1999 Kargil conflict, burst during trials in the Pokhran range in Rajasthan.The defence ministry had recently placed an order worth over Rs 1,260-crore for acquisition of 114 of the artillery field guns developed by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), which has used the designs obtained under the transfer of technology (ToT) provisions in the infamous Rs 1,437-crore Bofors contract of 1986, to develop prototypes of the new guns.


Mind you,at a time when the funding of political parties is the subject of fresh controversy, a new book has claimed that Rajiv Gandhi, as Prime Minister, wanted commissions given by defence suppliers to be pooled and used to fund the "inescapable expenses of the party".Reports Indian Express.

Pradhanmantri Episode 17

The Bofors scandal was the first major corruption scandal in Indian politics. The vey highest echelons of power were shaken and it became a turning point for Indian Politics.

A group of Indian politicians, including then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, were accused of receiving kick backs from the Swedish company Bofors for supplying missiles to India.

Prior the breaking of the scandal Rajiv Gandhi was known as the 'Mr Clean' of Indian politics. He had come down heavily against corruption and was vociferous against it.

Then the Bofors scandal broke out.

Watch exactly what happened in this episode of Pradhanmantri.

http://www.newsbullet.in/video/india/47397-pradhanmantri-episode-17

Rajiv Gandhi 'entrepreneur' in Swedish jet deal, says fresh Wikileaks report

WikiLeaks revelations from US Embassy cables have projected the assassinated former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as an arms agent, but this time it is not related to Bofors howitzer deal but to the sale of Swedish jets.

The sensational claim is being made by 'The Hindu' that exposes a link between Saab Scania and Rajiv Gandhi for its Viggen fighter that dates back to 1970s.

At that time Gandhi had no role in the government of his mother PM Indira Gandhi as he was working as a pilot for the Indian Airlines.

These revelations are purportedly part of the 'Henry Kissinger era' cables where Gandhi's family links were reportedly crucial to swing the deal in favour of the Swedish company.

However, the sensational revelations were tempered by the cables themselves which said that there is no proof and that no independent confirmation could be ascertained.

It may be recalled that the deal eventually went to the British Jaguar for its vertical landing and take-off jet fighter.

Saab Scania eventually had withdrawn from the deal negotiations.

Search Results

  1. Wikileaks List of Indian people having account in Swiss Bank – India ...

  2. drsanjaykumarheartsurgeon.wordpress.com/.../wikileaks-list-of-indian-pe...

  3. Aug 25, 2011 - Rajiv Gandhi was the elder son of Indira and Feroze Gandhi. ...Wikileaks Exposed Swiss bank Indian Account Details : Black Money | The ...

  4. Rajiv Gandhi and WikiLeaks: More noise than substance by ...

  5. blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.comBlogsIndia

  6. Apr 9, 2013 - Rajiv Gandhi was found to possess "technical expertise of a high level". In all these ...... JUST GOOGLE RAJIV GANDHI SWISS ACCOUNT.

  7. Rajiv Gandhi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  8. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajiv_Gandhi

  9. Rajiv Gandhi was also mired in many controversies: the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, ... 4.6 Allegations of black money; 4.7 Funding from KGB; 4.8 WikiLeaks allegations ..... thatRajiv Gandhi held 2.5 billion Swiss francs in secret Indian accounts in ...

  10. Wikileaks List of Indian people having account in Swiss ... - Facebook

  11. www.facebook.com/.../wikileaks...account...swiss...-/166116620134251

  12. Wikileaks List of Indian people having account in Swiss Bank – India by Dr Sanjay Kumar .... Rajiv Gandhi was the elder son of Indira and Feroze Gandhi.

  13. Rajiv Gandhi's (one of the) Swiss bank Account has $ 2.2 Billion ...

  14. defenceforumindia.comForumIndian AffairsPolitics & Society

  15. Jan 20, 2011 - 10 posts - ‎5 authors

  16. Zero tolerance, secret billions What was Rajiv Gandhi's fatal error in politics? It does not need a seer to say that it was his claim to honesty —

  17. Swiss bank closes account of WikiLeaks founder | NDTV.com

  18. www.ndtv.comWorld

  19. Dec 6, 2010 - The Swiss Post Office's banking arm said it had closed an account set up by ... WikiLeaks on Rajiv Gandhi: merits a probe or storm in a tea cup?

  20. WikiLeaks will out Indian Swiss accounts: Assange | NDTV.com

  21. www.ndtv.comAll India

  22. Apr 26, 2011 - WikiLeaks will out Indian Swiss accounts: Assange. All India | Press ...WikiLeaks on Rajiv Gandhi: merits a probe or storm in a tea cup? 51:29.

  23. Wikileaks Exposed Swiss bank Indian Account Details : Black ...

  24. espikes09.blogspot.com/2011/.../wikileaks-exposed-swiss-bank-indian.ht...

  25. Aug 28, 2011 - WikiLeaks posted in the website that – Indian money in Swiss Banks is much ..... Rajiv Gandhi was the elder son of Indira and Feroze Gandhi.

  26. Black Money in Swiss Bank mainly from India - Wiki Leaks - Orissa

  27. incredibleorissa.com/en/black-money-in-swiss-bank-mainly-from-india/

  28. Aug 17, 2011 - WikiLeaks posted in the website that – Indian money in Swiss Banks than any other ... that there are more indian accounts in Swiss Bank than any other country. ..... list of black money of rajiv gandhi is wrong every india known ...

  29. Wiki Leaks Published 1st List of Black money holders in Swiss bank ...

  30. www.hoaxorfact.com/.../wiki-leaks-published-1st-list-of-black-money-h...

  31. Jan 16, 2012 - Facts Analysis team report on message claiming that WikiLeaks has Published its 1st List of Indian black money ... Rajeev Gandhi(19800)

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(Click on the Image to view in Full size..)


Now these days IAC, India Against Corruption movement by Indian People with Anna Hazare who is considered to be leader of this movement is on full mood to destroy the corruption by passing Jan LokPal Bill. It is needed as corruption in India is on peak from last few years its destroying people by hiking prices of basic needs/ resources like petrol, gas, food etc.Not even that people of India also faces many other problems like Not providing Houses as per scheme, corruption in housing schemes, corruption in developement of cities and villages.These things are just because of corrupted people who are still surviving in Government of India. whether he/she is clerk or MP or MLA or Corrupt Officer.  Everywhere and everybody is corrupted just because there is no such strict action against corruption by law.So , to destroy this black mark on India Anna and the People of India supporting Jan LokPal Bill and they just want that Govt of India should pass this Jan lokpal bill to completely destroy corruption and corrupted People from system.

What is Jan LokPal Bill ?


The Lokpal will be a three-member body with a chairperson who is or was a  chief justice or Supreme Court judge, and two members who are or have been high courts judges or chief justices.

Implementation of the Lokpal bill will hopefully reduce corruption in  India.

The basic idea of the Lokpal is borrowed from the office of the ombudsman in  other countries. It provides for filing complaints of corruption against the prime minister , other ministers and members of parliament with the ombudsman. Anyone, except for a public servant , can file a complaint and the Lokpal has to complete the inquiry within six months.

The Jan Lokpal Bill envisages the following to decrease, and ultimately remove corruption from the country.


1. An institution called Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukta in each state will be set up.


2. Like the Supreme Court and Election Commission, they will be completely independent of governments. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations.3. Cases against corrupt people will not linger on for years anymore. Investigations in any case will have to be completed in one year. Trial should be completed in the next one year so that the corrupt politician, officer or judge is sent to jail within two years.4. The loss that a corrupt person caused to the government will be recovered at the time of conviction.5. If any work of any citizen is not done in prescribed time in any government office, Lokpal will impose financial penalty on guilty officers. The penalty will be given as compensation to the complainant.

A citizen can approach Lokpal if his ration card, passport or voter card is not being made or if police is not registering his case or any other work is not being done in prescribed time.

Lokpal will have to get it done in a month's time. You could also report any case of corruption to Lokpal such as ration being siphoned off, poor quality roads being constructed or panchayat funds being siphoned off.Lokpal will have to complete its investigations in a year, trial will be over in next one year and the guilty will go to jail within two years.


6. There are also safeguards against the government appointing corrupt and weak people as Lokpal members. This won't be possible because its members will be selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities, and not by politicians - through a completely transparent and participatory process.


7. Action will be taken if some officer in Lokpal becomes corrupt. The entire functioning of Lokpal/ Lokayukta will be completely transparent. Any complaint against any officer of Lokpal shall be investigated and the guilty officer dismissed within two months.


8. The Jan Lokpal Bill will appropriate existing anti-corruption agencies. CVC, departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branches of CBI will be merged into Lokpal. Lokpal will have complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.



The Image with wikileaks header bearing the photo of Julian Assange and the Data about the names of individual having black money doesn't belong to The World Reporter. The source of the image is still incognito and the verification is under process.This image has been in circulation on various social networking sites and Emails. The article takes its base from this source. Although yes, it was informed that the complete list of Indian account holders was posted on August 2nd on IP 88.80.16.63 on port 9999 and not on wikileaks main website which was blocked soon.


It's true that nothing can be said about the authenticity of the names and data in the image above as we are not able to access the IP with the mention port which was supposed to be accessed using an IRC chat client. According to Wikileaks official facebook page the above image is fake and Wikileaks never published such report though they have the real report still with them unpublished.

http://espikes09.blogspot.in/2011/08/wikileaks-exposed-swiss-bank-indian.html#.UoPEWXCBkQM


Zeenews 2013-04-08: Zeenews Bureau New Delhi: In what may trigger a political storm in the country, the latest WikiLeaks revelations from US Embassy cables have projected former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as an arms agent for a deal related to the sale of Swedish jets. A report published by a leading daily 'The Hindu' on WikiLeaks expose of US diplomatic... more »

Read full articleSms this PageEmail this PageShare this story

photo: WN / Imran Nissar        «»

Rajiv Gandhi was a middleman for Swedish jets: WikiLeaks

Zeenews2013-04-08

'Rajiv Gandhi was a middleman for Swedish jets'

Zeenews2013-04-08

Rajiv Gandhi acted as middleman in jet deal for a Swedish firm: WikiLeaks

Deccan Chronicle2013-04-08

WikiLeaks report on Rajiv Gandhi baseless: Congress

Zeenews2013-04-08

Congress rubbishes WikiLeaks report on Rajiv Gandhi

Zeenews2013-04-08

Rajiv Gandhi was 'entrepreneur' for Swedish jet, U.S. cable says

The Hindu2013-04-08

Rajiv Gandhi was 'negotiator' for Swedish jet firm: Wikileaks

The Times of India2013-04-08



Congress today sought to bury attempts to exorcise the Bofors ghost ahead of elections saying all these "malicious insinuations have been found unfounded by courts and investigating agencies".



BJP on Wednesday used the claims made by former CBI director A P Mukherjee in his new book on defence deals row by seeking to know from Congress if it had diverted kickbacks for political purposes and whether the practice still continues.


"Today, when the discussion about political funding is widespread, it is a revelation that Congress had encouraged replacement of middlemen with political cadres. Whilst commissions in large defence deals are illegal, kickbacks were collected and as established in this book, diverted for political purposes," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.


The main opposition demanded that Congress come clear on the charges made by Mukherjee in his book- "Unknown Facets of Rajiv Gandhi, Jyoti Basu and Indrajit Gupta"- especially in the context of Bofors and HDW submarine deals.


"The financial sinew of Congress has now been laid bare. Is it that Rajiv Gandhi, who apparently stood for a certain value-based politics, also engaged in diverting such funds for political activities?" Sitharaman said.


She alleged Congress has always tried to confuse the people that commissions, and not kickbacks, were paid in the controversial Bofors, HDW submarine deals.


"Did Rajiv Gandhi intend to replace the commercial middlemen with political middlemen? What happened to the tall claims that he had made about cleaning up the top end of the political system?" Sitharaman said.



Claiming that Rajiv Gandhi only paid lip service to the issue, BJP asked if Rahul wants to continue with this politics, "carrying this baggage".


"Rahul Gandhi is also talking about a new politics. His followers project him as the messiah of clean and new politics. Even now several big-ticket corruptions such as Augusta Westland, Coalgate, 2G Spectrum, ISRO-Devas all remain unanswered," Sitharaman said.


She demanded that Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Congress clarify their stand on these issues.


"Instead of falling back on their USP of playing the communal card, it is time for Congress to answer and explain the various kickbacks, their recipients and the utilisation of such monies," BJP said.


PIL seeks probe in Congress, BJP's foreign funding

Lucknow: A public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a probe into foreign contributions made to the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was Wednesday filed in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court (HC).



The petition was filed by social activist and a member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Nutan Thakur.


Welcoming the probe ordered by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde into AAP's foreign contribution accounts, she demanded similar exercise for other politicial parties as well.


"Ordering the probe when the process of Delhi assembly polls is underway is extremely suspicious and one-sided," Thakur said.


She also said that in October 2012 she had sent a complaint to the home ministry seeking probe into the alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 by the Congress and BJP in receiving donations of about Rs.5 crore each from Vedanta Group subsidiaries and Sesa Goa, but no action was initiated in these complaints.


Terror attack can take place despite best security cover: BJP

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 21:48

Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Wednesday claimed that incidents like the terror attack on Parliament, which occurred during the party`s rule, could take place despite best security arrangements.

Centre to consider amendment of law dealing with prohibitory orders

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 21:16

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said PILs seeking quashing of various sections of Delhi Police Act, including those empowering an officer of the rank of ACP to impose prohibitory order, will be treated as representation to the Centre for making amendments to the legislation.

Govt `approves` amendments to SC/ST Act

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 21:13

Government on Wednesday is believed to have approved amendments to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which will give it more teeth by expanding its scope and providing for harsher punishment.

RSS, BJP using Muslims for terror attacks: Vaghela

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 21:05

Sparking a controversy, Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela has alleged that RSS and BJP are using Muslims to carry out terror attacks in the country, drawing a sharp response from BJP which accused Congress of making "wild allegations".

BJP uses ex-CBI chief`s book to attack Cong

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 21:02

BJP on Wednesday used the claims made by former CBI director AP Mukherjee in his new book on defence deals row by seeking to know from Congress if it had diverted kickbacks for political purposes and whether the practice still continues.

Charge against ex-judge: Lawyer asked to appear before panel

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 20:17

A lawyer, who has alleged sexual harassment by a recently-retired Supreme Court judge during her internship, was on Wednesday asked to appear on November 18 before a three-judge committee set up to probe the charge.

Women safety: Govt invites tech solutions

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 20:02

In its efforts to provide security to women and elderly, the government has invited suggestions on innovative technologies and ideas from people and institutions which can be used by police.

Centre admits sexual harassment of female RJs of AIR

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 19:51

The Centre on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that there have been instances of sexual harassment against women radio presenters working with FM Gold channel of All India Radio (AIR) and appropriate action has been taken against the erring people.

Running coalition will be different cup of tea for Modi: Chavan

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 19:50

Criticising BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for not spelling out his views on important issues, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said it would be difficult for the Gujarat Chief Minister to run a coalition government.

UPA failed on economic front despite PM being an economist: BJP

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 19:46

BJP on Wednesday termed the Congress-led UPA Government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as "failure" on economic front despite having an economist at the helm of affairs.

http://zeenews.india.com/nation/index.html

Chitra Subramaniam who broke Bofors scam story calls it a multi-country cover-up

Rajdeep Sardesai,CNN-IBN

Apr 25, 2012 at 07:22pm IST

hitra Subramaniam was the journalist who broke the Bofors story nearly 25 years ago. In an interview with IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, the senior journalist seemed to back former Swedish police chief and her informant in the case, Sten Lindstrom, in his claims that while Rajiv Gandhi did not receive any bribes in the Bofors case, it was a multi-country massive cover-up.

Here is a full transcript of the interview:

Rajdeep Sardesai: Sten Lindstrom from time to time has spoken out on Bofors... What is the significance you attach to this specific interview coming as it does 25 years after the story first broke?

 

Chitra Subramaniam: I think he has spoken out as a police officer from time to time. But I think this is the first time that you connect him to the 'deep throat' or what was called sting during the investigations. The significance is several fold, depending on who you are and what you are looking for and I find it very interesting that just like during the Bofors period, each one was trying to take a bit of the story and say 'I am clean, you are clean, they are not clean', the same thing is happening now and I see the same thing happening in the media with questions focused on one side or the other without looking at the facts. So for me, this is another opportunity for people who are interested in facts to look at them and talk to the person who actually knows most about what happened.

Rajdeep Sardesai: The interesting thing though is that while Lindstrom says there was no evidence that Rajiv Gandhi received bribes, but he also says that Rajiv Gandhi protected Quattrocchi. Some see this as a clean chit for Rajiv, others feel that it confirms what they suspected that Bofors was a giant cover-up operation in which those close to the Gandhis got kickbacks. How do you see it after all these years?

Chitra Subramaniam: A suspicion is not evidence. You can say 1 is greater than zero but you have to prove it mathematically. You can prove with documentary evidence up to Quattrocchi but to make that leap is not an easy one and it has to be done in an investigative process either by the media or by the officials of the government. While it is a fact that Mr Gandhi was.. there was no payment to him or to Mr Palme. The fact remains that it was a multi-country massive cover up.

Rajdeep Sardesai: In a previous interview to CNN-IBN, Lindstrom had said that Quattrocchi clearly benefited from his political connections and in another interview, he said that Sonia Gandhi should be investigated too. This time, interestingly, he doesn't mention Sonia anywhere in the interview.

Chitra Subramaniam: Yes and the reasons are simple, this is happening 25 years later but the facts have not changed. They remain as hard as they were twenty years ago or ten years ago. The issue is that had the Indian investigators sat down with the other investigators... you know... they have a language, like journalists have a language... investigators know and interpret information specially in international investigations and one of the pointers would have been to speak to Mrs Gandhi, if not at least to Mr Quattrocchi, against whom the evidence was conclusive. And of course you get to ask the question why would Bofors pay Quattrocchi and I believe that Mr Martin Ardbo shared a lot with Mr Lindstrom.

Rajdeep Sardesai: In the interview, Lindstrom says that Martin Ardbo, the then Managing Director of Bofors told him there was a meeting with AE Services official and a Gandhi Trustee lawyer in Geneva. This was, he says in your interview, a political payment... but doesn't say whether this political payment was limited to Quattrocchi or went beyond him.

Chitra Subramaniam: The AE Services payment were traced to Mr Quattrocchi, the structure was such they eventually made way.. they landed in Mr Quattrocchi's account through various routes. So the meeting with the Gandhi Trustee lawyer in Geneva and then the payments to Mr Quattrocchi in Geneva are facts. Those are facts.

Rajdeep Sardesai: What about the role of Arun Nehru which Lindstrom mentions as also being a key... Was Arun Nehru's alleged role and involvement in Bofors ever fully explored?

Chitra Subramaniam: Martin Ardbo told him, don't forget that they had several long interrogation sessions with Martin Ardbo, they spoke a lot about a lot of things and it repeatedly came up that Mr Nehru was the eminence grise of the whole thing. but Ardbo was not willing to go further because he knew exactly what the further would mean. From my view as a former journalist I stopped there. That's where the investigators should have met and interrogated Ardbo together to find out more to fill in those gaps.

Rajdeep Sardesai: There is also the Amitabh Bachchan bit where Lindstrom says stories against Amitabh were planted... you yourself in the past have said that Amitabh Bachchan had nothing to do with Bofors.. Why then did his name then crop up repeatedly?

Chitra Subramaniam: I am not an expert. How do I know. But these things get very political. You know it's very easy to whistle in the dark and leak a thing, drop a name there in the context of thing and then people pick up this and pick up that and it looks like it fits. Similarly to the question of... to make that leap to Rajiv Gandhi, you need evidence and I never connected Mr Bachchan to the payments because neither Lindstrom nor my other sources in Switzerland could confirm this and today he is standing up himself and saying that there was never any evidence. It was planted and I believe that it was planted for political reasons and you know it's not one party or the other. They all do it.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Final question Chitra.. the Bofors case has been closed in Indian courts, Quattrocchi's accounts defrozen.. 25 years later, is it the end of the road?

Chitra Subramaniam: Legally I don't know. I dont know what the deadlines are. Some things last for ten years, some for twenty. So on the legal aspects, the legal people will have to take a call but as Mr Lindstrom said false closures they mislead the system and silence cannot be the answer and I think I agree with him on that.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/chitra-subramaniam-who-broke-bofors-scam-story-calls-it-a-multicountry-coverup/252058-37-64.html


Bizarre clean chit to Indian corporates by Transparency International

MONEYLIFE DIGITAL TEAM | 18/10/2013 06:06 PM |  

Transparency International has come up with an absurd report on corruption and transparency. The report ranks companies like Reliance Industries and Bharti Airtel ahead of Infosys and Wipro! Even Vedanta is supposedly more "transparent" than Infosys! Among the clean companies is Hindalco and Suzlon! What were Transparency International researchers smoking?


Transparency International (TI), a reputed organisation that measures the levels of corruption around the world, has come up with a report titled 'Transparency in Corporate Reporting: Assessing Emerging Market Multinationals', on corporate reporting in emerging markets. Its conclusions based on a ranking of three parameters—corporate anti-corruption programmes , organisational transparency and country-by-country reporting—will come as a shock to anyone who knows anything about corporate governance in India including disclosure and transparency. Tainted companies like the Vedanta come ahead of Infosys. Other dubious entries in the elite list include Reliance Industries and Suzlon! Reliance is ahead of even Wipro. TI calls companies like these "rising stars of the world economy".

Of the 20 Indian companies featured, as many as six Tata companies were rated as paragons of transparency in corporate reporting. They are (in order): Tata Communications, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services. How is it possible that TCS ranks below Tata Communications? At the bottom of the list, far below Vedanta, Reliance and Suzlon is Bajaj Auto, an excellent company as  far as ashareholders, creditors, customers and other stakeholders are concerned.

This exceptional clean chit to the Tatas comes at a time when the Supreme Court has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate 14 specific issues based on the controversial Niira Radia tapes and various parties, of which Tata is one of them. The Tata Group, then led by Ratan Tata, was embroiled in the Niira Radia affair, where evidence of corporate lobbying was spilled out to the public and revealed that he was trying to influence the Telecom Ministry. Similarly, Bharti Airtel is also embroiled in the 2G mess. And there is Vedanta Group, which were trying hard to get permits to dislocate tribals of Odisha to build a bauxite mine in the environmentally sensitive area. Environmental activists protested and held a campaign titled 'Foil Vedanta' outside the company's headquarters in London. Reliance Industries led by Mukesh Ambani, too has been embroiled in the Niira Radia affair.

Also figuring in the list is Hindalco, an Aditya Birla Group company which is now embroiled in the coal scam. The CBI filed a first information report (FIR) against coal secretary PC Parakh and also named Kumar Mangalam Birla, for alleged corruption forallotment of coal blocks in Odisha. More shockingly, as much as Rs25 crore of unaccounted cash was discovered in the office premises in Delhi. The company officials pretend to are clueless about this.

One must wonder if this was a sponsored report. TI put a note on the fourth page that read: "Companies covered in this report may support Transparency International chapters worldwide". Is it paid research?

The three metrics used in the in this report were:

# Reporting on anti-corruption programmes (ACP): covering inter alia bribery, facilitation payments, whistleblower protection and political contributions

# Organisational transparency (OT): including information about corporate holdings

# Country-by-country reporting (CBC): including revenues, capital expenditure and tax payments

There was an interesting side note disclosed by TI which read: "Transparency International has not undertaken to verify whether information disclosed on (company) websites or in (company) reports is complete or correct. In other words, if a company publishes what it refers to as 'a full list of its fully consolidated material subsidiaries' this has been accepted at face value and scored accordingly. In addition, it is beyond the scope of this research to judge levels of integrity in company practices."

What is remarkable is that TI has succeeded in blurring the definition of 'transparency' (or corporate governance, if you will). Because, the next statement reads: "Rather, the research focuses solely on reporting on transparency and anti-corruption in corporate policies and procedures, which Transparency International believes are crucial elements in ensuring good corporate governance and mitigating the risk of corruption."

So, since TI cannot rate companies' integrity practices it focuses only on reporting and disclosure, and uses the last two as proxy for transparency.

Therefore, it would seem that TI has no clue whether companies like Vedanta or Tata Communications are unethical or have shady corporate governance practices. TI probably has no idea about the Niira Radia scandal or the concerns Vedanta generates about its environmental practices. It has rated on the premise that companies like these simply disclosed something, say in company's documentations such as annual reports and have simply ticked off boxes in their questionnaire.

It is well known in India that regulation is abysmal as is corporate governance general. In fact, in a disclosure-based regime, SEBI has failed abysmally to get companies to toe its line or protect investors. Many Indian savers and investors are still groping in the dark when it comes to investment matters due wrong practices on the ground, never minddisclosures on paper.

Even corporate auditing has gone for a toss as evidenced in the recent Gujarat NRE coke case as well as Financial Technologies, where auditing irregularities were found. Yet, TI says, "Companies from India performed the best overall among the BRICS with a score of 54% on the strength of their performance on country-by-country reporting."

TI picked only 100 companies from 16 countries worldwide, all from BRICs region, of which 20 Indian companies were featured in the list. Interestingly, it did not select these companies on its own. It used Boston Consulting Group list of Global Challengers 2011. The TI report said that it hopes that these companies will set benchmark in transparency. It said, "In view of the growing economic and political clout of emerging markets and the rapid advances of emerging market companies both domestically and across borders, the hope is that these Global Challengers will adhere not only to applicable legal and regulatory standards but that they will go above and beyond them to achieve the highest standards of ethics and transparency." Multinational companies like ITC and Hindustan Unilever—both high on corporate governance—have been left out.

Interestingly, Chinese companies were the worst of all. TI found that nine out of the 11 worst performers are incorporated in China.

Transparency International has been at the forefront of promoting transparency around the world but its own actions has been often suspect. According to top investigative journalist Chitra Subramaniam, TI was silent on the Bofors scam when the bribe giver was Sweden. Yet, year after year, Sweden has been rated one of the corrupt-free nations in Transparency International reports. Switzerland, which helps rogues stash wealth secretly, also routinely figures high on their list.

A full summary of only Indian companies is disclosed below, with their scores:

COMPANY

ACP

OT

CBC

INDEX

Tata Communications

92%

88%

34%

7.1

Tata Global Beverages

92%

75%

31%

6.6

Tata Steel

92%

75%

30%

6.6

Bharti Airtel

85%

75%

34%

6.4

Tata Chemicals

81%

75%

30%

6.2

Mahindra & Mahindra

73%

81%

30%

6.1

Tata Motors

77%

75%

29%

6.0

Tata Consultancy Services

85%

75%

17%

5.9

Reliance Industries

65%

75%

30%

5.7

Wipro

77%

63%

30%

5.7

Lupin Limited

42%

75%

38%

5.2

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories

50%

75%

25%

5.0

Vedanta Resources

92%

44%

10%

4.9

Infosys Technologies

77%

38%

30%

4.8

Suzlon Energy

54%

56%

32%

4.7

Hindalco Industries

35%

75%

30%

4.7

Larsen & Toubro

19%

81%

26%

4.2

Crompton Greaves

23%

75%

26%

4.1

Bharat Forge

15%

75%

33%

4.1

Bajaj Auto

31%

38%

30%

3.3

ACP: anti-corruption practices  ; OT: organisation transparency  ; CBC: country-by-country reporting

The overall list of all 100 companies can be found here:

http://www.moneylife.in/article/bizarre-clean-chit-to-indian-corporates-by-transparency-international/34944.html#postcomment




Bofors scam was politicised because Sonia, Quattrocchi were Italians: Analyst

Last Updated: Sunday, July 14, 2013,

New Delhi: The kickback scam surrounding the Bofors Howitzer Gun deal was politicized because of the involvement of Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and Ottavio Quattrocchi, both of whom were Italians, claims a political analyst.



Professor Tulsi Ram said, "The issue was politicised because Sonia Gandhi and Quattrocchi were Italians."


Professor Ram said that even after nearly three decades of the scam first coming to light, no investigative agency had come up with any strong evidence to nail the accused, and this was one of the reasons why the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) had to end the probe.


Ram predicted that political parties would most definitely raise the issue again, especially with general elections round the corner.


"This will be raised during elections along with other issues. This is a big political issue. There is no strong evidence against any of the accused," he said.


When asked about a possible comparison with Coalgate, Professor Ram said that the latter was an entirely different issue, as the accused have been arrested "Bofors in comparison to Coalgate is a small issue. The NDA was in power for six years, but couldn't do anything on this. This shows that the Bofors scam was used for political purposes," he claimed.


Speaking in Mumbai, Janata party president Subramanium Swamy opined that Quattrocchi's death or him being alive would make no difference whatsoever to the Bofors case or investigation.


"He is free from punishment, but he has nothing to do with this case now," Swamy said.


Their comments came a day after Quattrocchi died of a heart attack in Milan, Italy.


Local media reports said that his funeral will take place on Monday.


It may be recalled that Quattrocchi represented Italian petrochemicals firm Snamprogetti and was accused of being one of the middleman in the Bofors scandal.


He was also said to be close to the Nehru- Gandhi family, and this fuelled speculation about his rise as a power broker between New Delhi and international businesses.


The Bofors scam relates to a March 1986 deal between the Indian Government and Swedish arms company Bofors for the supply of 410 155mm Howitzer field guns worth about 285 to 286 million dollars.


A year later, news broke that Bofors had allegedly paid kickbacks worth Rs. 64 crore to top Indian politicians and officials to secure the deal.


ANI



After an accident during trials in August shattered expectations, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is planning to make one more attempt with the indigenous Bofors type gun that it designed recently. Sources involved in the project say another 155m cannon prototype will be put up for winter trials with the army in December.Times of India reports.

The summer trials were held in mid-August when, after firing quite a few rounds, the barrel of the gun came off. The howitzers were designed at Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur. The officials here say the accident took place due to a defective shell, which prematurely burst damaging the entire barrel. However, there is another theory of a likely design problem in the howitzer due to which the accident took place. The matter is being investigated.



An Indian Army truck tows a 155mm Bofors howitzer toward the Pakistani border. (MUSTAFA TAUSEEF / AFP)

NEW DELHI — Indian Army efforts to acquire howitzer guns from domestic sources received a jolt this summer when the barrel of a prototype Bofors howitzer being upgraded here burst during trials.

An internal committee, which gave its findings to the Indian Defence Ministry this month, said neither the barrel nor its Indian-made ammunition was at fault, an MoD source said.

The upgrade of the howitzer has now been stalled and induction of the 114 guns the Army ordered last year has been delayed.

India's Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is attempting to upgrade the 155mm/39-caliber guns to 155mm/45-caliber weapons.

The Army has not been able to buy any howitzer guns since the 1980s because the process has been aborted on several occasions when corruption charges resulted in companies being blacklisted. Denel of South Africa was blacklisted in 2005; Rheinmetall's Swiss arm, Israeli Military Industries and Singapore Technologies were blacklisted in 2009.

OFB began the upgrade two years ago, based on drawings supplied by Bofors in the 1980s as part of the transfer technology arrangement.

MoD sources said OFB does not have the technical know-how to upgrade the guns because the state-owned company produces guns of lower caliber.

A BAE Systems executive said his company is ready to help OFB upgrade the gun. BAE owns the howitzer unit of the Swedish company Bofors, from which the Indian Army acquired the guns in the 1980s.

The Indian Army requires a variety of 155mm guns that will cost more than US $6 billion as it plans to replace all its artillery weapons.

An Army official said the service is disappointed over the delay in acquiring the guns, adding that the effort by OFB to find an alternative appears to have fizzled. The official added that efforts should be made to acquire the howitzers on a government-to-government basis to speed the procurement process.

To tap the howitzer market, domestic private-sector companies have also teamed with overseas companies to make a gun here with indigenous content. India's private major Larsen & Toubro has joined with South Korea's Samsung to compete in a howitzer self-propelled tracked-gun tender.

Domestic private-sector Tata Power Strategic Electronics Division has also developed a 155mm/52-caliber mounted gun with a firing range of 40 kilometers. While the company would not officially comment on its foreign partners, sources said help has been sought from Denel.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131025/DEFREG03/310250022/



Rajiv Gandhi told me to use arms deal payoffs for party funds: Ex-CBI chief

Ritu Sarin : New Delhi, Wed Nov 13 2013, 08:58 hrsThe just-released book, Unknown Facets of Rajiv Gandhi, Jyoti Basu and Indrajit Gupta, is written by former CBI director Dr A P Mukherjee.


At a time when the funding of political parties is the subject of fresh controversy, a new book has claimed that Rajiv Gandhi, as Prime Minister, wanted commissions given by defence suppliers to be pooled and used to fund the "inescapable expenses of the party".


The just-released book, Unknown Facets of Rajiv Gandhi, Jyoti Basu and Indrajit Gupta, is written by former CBI director Dr A P Mukherjee and the claim is based on his conversations with Rajiv in June 1989, the author has said.


Rajiv, incidentally, was caught in the thick of the Bofors guns bribery scandal at that time and lost power later that year.

"Rajiv Gandhi was very clear that commissions paid as a routine by most defence dealers should be properly accounted for and not siphoned off by dishonest officials of the armed forces and politicians...he wanted such payments to be pooled and accounted for," Mukherjee has written.


"This (elections) leads to massive fund collections by important party functionaries all over the country, which leads to an almost unbreakable unholy quid pro quo nexus between unscrupulous party functionaries, ministers and businessmen. I could sense this as the party's general secretary or even as its youth leader earlier when I had to enter the political arena with considerable reluctance," Rajiv told him over coffee, Mukherjee has written.


Rajiv, he says, had come to know that some senior officers of the armed forces had been surreptitiously collecting huge amounts of money as "commissions" in most defence purchases, quite often in connivance with some ministers, middlemen and civilian officers as well.


Rajiv, the former CBI director says, "discussed this problem with some of his trusted colleagues and advisers when it was suggested by some that all commissions as payable or usually paid to middlemen should be banned but the commissions to be given as a matter of routine practice by the suppliers of major defence materials could be pooled under the care of some non-government entity which could be utilised solely for the purpose of meeting the inescapable expenses of the party.

http://expressindia.indianexpress.com/



*

Rajiv wanted Bofors payoffs in Congress coffers, ex-CBI chief says

Times of India-by Josy Joseph-2 hours agoShare

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Financial Express-14 hours ago



Rajiv Gandhi was 'entrepreneur' for Swedish jet, U.S. cable says


Murali N. Krishnaswamy


http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/01420/TH08_RAJIV__GANDHI_1420484g.jpg

A file photo of Rajiv Gandhi.


Revelation contained in Kissinger-era documents obtained by WikiLeaks


Much before he became Prime Minister, during his years as an Indian Airlines pilot, Rajiv Gandhi may have been a middleman for the Swedish company Saab-Scania, when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s.


The astonishing revelation that he was the "main Indian negotiator" for a massive aircraft deal for which his "family" connections were seen as valuable, is contained in the Kissinger Cables, the latest tranche of U.S diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and accessed by The Hindu as part of an investigative collaboration. The cables will be released on Monday.


The British SEPECAT Jaguar eventually won the race, from which Saab was forced to withdraw by the U.S.


Rajiv Gandhi, who kept away from politics until he was pushed into it by his mother Indira after the death of his brother Sanjay in 1980, came into public life with a squeaky clean image. Years later, a controversy over bribes paid in another military deal with a different Swedish company, Bofors, was to lead to Rajiv's and the Congress's defeat in the 1989 elections.


A series of 41 cables between 1974 and 1976 give glimpses into the "fighter sweepstakes" in India, with one wryly observing that the Swedish company had "understood the importance of family influences in the final decision in the fighter sweepstakes."


Dassault, the French aircraft maker, too had figured this out. According to the cable, their negotiator for the Mirage fighter aircraft was the son-in-law of Air Marshal O.P. Mehra, then Air Chief.


An October 21, 1975 cable from the New Delhi U.S. Embassy (1975NEWDE14031_b, confidential) details information given to it by a diplomat in the Swedish Embassy. "Mrs Gandhi's oler [sic] son's only association with the aircraft industry (to our knowledge) has been as a pilot for Indian Airlines and this is the first time we have heard his name as entrepreneur."


Having noted what the Swedes had said, the cable makes the comment that there was no additional information to either refute or confirm the information.


The cable goes on to say, "Mrs Gandhi (according to the Swedish info) has made the personal decision not to purchase the British Jaguar because of her prejudices against the British. The decision would be between the Mirage [Dassault Mirage F1] and the Viggen."


Importance of 'family'


In another cable (1976NEWDE01909_b, confidential), the Swedes also made it clear they "understood the importance of family influences" in the final decision. The cable adds: "Our colleague describes Ranjiv Gandhi [sic] in flattering terms, and contends his technical expertise is of a high level. This may or may not be. Offhand, we would have thought a transport pilot [is] not the best expert to rely upon in evaluating a fighter plane, but then we are speaking of a transport pilot who has another and perhaps more relevant qualification."


The first cable adds that Air Marshal Mehra's son-in-law was the chief negotiator for the competing Mirage, but it does not give his name.


Contacted in New Delhi, Navin Behl, the former Air Chief's son-in-law, denied that he was ever involved in any such negotiations. "I was never an arms dealer. We've got nothing to do with it. I am a chartered accountant, [I was] practising then [in the 1970s], and now we're in the manufacture and export of home furnishings," he told The Hindu.


The Swedish diplomat quoted in this cable said his country's neutral position in world politics was offsetting the Viggen's higher cost. The cable also records the official's "irritation at the way Mrs Gandhi is personally dominating negotiations, without [the] involvement of Indian Air Force officers. According to him, negotiations with the Swedes are for 50 Viggen aircraft to be delivered at $4-5 million per aircraft with the Swedes believing that the Indians have made the decision not to purchase any more Soviet military aircraft."


U.S. blocks deal


But Sweden had to do an abrupt about turn with what appears to be a bit of arm-twisting. An August 6, 1976 cable (1976STOCKH04230_b, secret) titled "Saab-Scania requests for U.S. permission to export Viggen and license to India" appears to confirm this with a blunt message: "The USG, after careful consideration, has concluded that no version of the Viggen containing any classified U.S. components would be acceptable for transfer to India. It would also oppose any transfer to India, for local production, of the advanced U.S. technology represented in the Viggen's aerodynamic design, engine and flying controls, navigation system, electronic components and weapons systems."


Another 1976 cable (1976STOCKH04231_b, secret) details the negative USG response to Saab-Scania president Curt Mileikowsky's informal request for export of Viggen aircraft to India and licence to manufacture such aircraft to India. Senior Swedish officials have also emphasised "that [the] most important consideration to their government was preservation of cooperation with the U.S. on military R&D, which they recognised as vital to maintenance of a viable Swedish defence effort and that the sale of the Viggen to India was of secondary consideration to them in comparison with the value of military cooperation with the U.S."


Scramble for contract


The earliest reference to the IAF upgrade plan is in a 1974 cable (1974LONDON00554_b, secret), which elaborates how the Indians had nearly completed negotiations for two Navy Corvettes and an unspecified number of Jaguar aircraft, though negotiations temporarily stalled because of the oil crisis.


India, according to the FCO South Asian Department head, had "expressed desire for [a] modest alternative to the Soviets as an arms supply source, and had begun discussions with the British early last summer." The British were smelling a deal "in the neighbourhood of 30-35 million pounds, probably only the first tranche of an ongoing program which could reach 100-120 million pounds over a period of time."


The Viggen pitch to India was of immense interest to the U.S. As one cable (1975STATE270066_b, secret) said, the aircraft "contains a large number of parts and components of U.S. origin which are therefore subject to USG control in third-party sales."


Jaguar, meanwhile, was aggressively in the hunt. A November 19, 1975 cable (1975NEWDE15350_b, confidential), said: "London has now decided to offer the Government Of India a more favorable financing arrangement, 71/4 percent over five years, than was earlier the case. The GOI has asked for two percent over 15 years, but the British tell us this is impossible. The GOI still wants 40 aircraft to be delivered within 36 months. The original British offer was 60 months, but they are now talking in terms of 40 odd months." The cable ends by saying that the final decision was expected to be political and made by the Prime Minister.


Another cable (1975PARIS33184_b confidential) details French concern that "Mrs Gandhi's advance toward dictatorship is now irreversible, and that French Prime Minister Chirac was unhappy with the idea of appearing to condone this development through his official visit" but also nursed the hope that the visit would be able to improve sales prospects for the Mirage F-1.


By the next year, the French Embassy is convinced (1976NEWDE00845_b, confidential) that it is Prime Minister [Indira] Gandhi alone who will make the final decision, and it will be on political grounds. The Swedes are also pushing their product. The French believed that the Swedes had dropped their price and offered to take rupees in payment. They were seen as moving towards delivering the first 24 to 36 aircraft to India, with the next aircraft being assembled in India under licence.


This report has been corrected for a typographical error.


Keywords: Kissinger Cables, The Hindu, Henry Kissinger, Rajiv Gandhi, cable 1974LONDON00554_b, cable 1975STATE270066_b, cable 1975NEWDE15350_b, cable 1975PARIS33184_b, cable 1975NEWDE14031_b, cable 1976STOCKH04230_b, cable 1976STOCKH04231_b, cable 1976NEWDE00845_b, Viggen fighter aircraft, U.S diplomatic cables, Swedish jet, WikiLeaks


Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajiv-gandhi-was-entrepreneur-for-swedish-jet-us-cable-says/article4592091.ece?homepage=true


http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajiv-gandhi-was-entrepreneur-for-swedish-jet-us-cable-says/article4592091.ece


KISSINGER CABLES

Rajiv Gandhi was 'entrepreneur' for Swedish jet, U.S. cable says

CHENNAI, April 8, 2013


Revelation contained in Kissinger-era documents obtained by WikiLeaks


Much before he became Prime Minister, during his years as an Indian Airlines pilot, Rajiv Gandhi may have been a middleman for the Swedish company Saab-Scania, when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s.


The astonishing revelation that he was the "main Indian negotiator" for a massive aircraft deal for which his "family" connections were seen as valuable, is contained in the Kissinger Cables, the latest tranche of U.S diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and accessed by The Hindu as part of an investigative collaboration. The cables will be released on Monday.


The British SEPECAT Jaguar eventually won the race, from which Saab was forced to withdraw by the U.S.


Rajiv Gandhi, who kept away from politics until he was pushed into it by his mother Indira after the death of his brother Sanjay in 1980, came into public life with a squeaky clean image. Years later, a controversy over bribes paid in another military deal with a different Swedish company, Bofors, was to lead to Rajiv's and the Congress's defeat in the 1989 elections.


A series of 41 cables between 1974 and 1976 give glimpses into the "fighter sweepstakes" in India, with one wryly observing that the Swedish company had "understood the importance of family influences in the final decision in the fighter sweepstakes."


Dassault, the French aircraft maker, too had figured this out. According to the cable, their negotiator for the Mirage fighter aircraft was the son-in-law of Air Marshal O.P. Mehra, then Air Chief.


An October 21, 1975 cable from the New Delhi U.S. Embassy (1975NEWDE14031_b, confidential) details information given to it by a diplomat in the Swedish Embassy. "Mrs Gandhi's oler [sic] son's only association with the aircraft industry (to our knowledge) has been as a pilot for Indian Airlines and this is the first time we have heard his name as entrepreneur."


Having noted what the Swedes had said, the cable makes the comment that there was no additional information to either refute or confirm the information.


The cable goes on to say, "Mrs Gandhi (according to the Swedish info) has made the personal decision not to purchase the British Jaguar because of her prejudices against the British. The decision would be between the Mirage [Dassault Mirage F1] and the Viggen."


Importance of 'family'


In another cable (1976NEWDE01909_b, confidential), the Swedes also made it clear they "understood the importance of family influences" in the final decision. The cable adds: "Our colleague describes Ranjiv Gandhi [sic] in flattering terms, and contends his technical expertise is of a high level. This may or may not be. Offhand, we would have thought a transport pilot [is] not the best expert to rely upon in evaluating a fighter plane, but then we are speaking of a transport pilot who has another and perhaps more relevant qualification."


The first cable adds that Air Marshal Mehra's son-in-law was the chief negotiator for the competing Mirage, but it does not give his name.


Contacted in New Delhi, Navin Behl, the former Air Chief's son-in-law, denied that he was ever involved in any such negotiations. "I was never an arms dealer. We've got nothing to do with it. I am a chartered accountant, [I was] practising then [in the 1970s], and now we're in the manufacture and export of home furnishings," he told The Hindu.


The Swedish diplomat quoted in this cable said his country's neutral position in world politics was offsetting the Viggen's higher cost. The cable also records the official's "irritation at the way Mrs Gandhi is personally dominating negotiations, without [the] involvement of Indian Air Force officers. According to him, negotiations with the Swedes are for 50 Viggen aircraft to be delivered at $4-5 million per aircraft with the Swedes believing that the Indians have made the decision not to purchase any more Soviet military aircraft."


U.S. blocks deal


But Sweden had to do an abrupt about turn with what appears to be a bit of arm-twisting. An August 6, 1976 cable (1976STOCKH04230_b, secret) titled "Saab-Scania requests for U.S. permission to export Viggen and license to India" appears to confirm this with a blunt message: "The USG, after careful consideration, has concluded that no version of the Viggen containing any classified U.S. components would be acceptable for transfer to India. It would also oppose any transfer to India, for local production, of the advanced U.S. technology represented in the Viggen's aerodynamic design, engine and flying controls, navigation system, electronic components and weapons systems."


Another 1976 cable (1976STOCKH04231_b, secret) details the negative USG response to Saab-Scania president Curt Mileikowsky's informal request for export of Viggen aircraft to India and licence to manufacture such aircraft to India. Senior Swedish officials have also emphasised "that [the] most important consideration to their government was preservation of cooperation with the U.S. on military R&D, which they recognised as vital to maintenance of a viable Swedish defence effort and that the sale of the Viggen to India was of secondary consideration to them in comparison with the value of military cooperation with the U.S."


Scramble for contract


The earliest reference to the IAF upgrade plan is in a 1974 cable (1974LONDON00554_b, secret), which elaborates how the Indians had nearly completed negotiations for two Navy Corvettes and an unspecified number of Jaguar aircraft, though negotiations temporarily stalled because of the oil crisis.


India, according to the FCO South Asian Department head, had "expressed desire for [a] modest alternative to the Soviets as an arms supply source, and had begun discussions with the British early last summer." The British were smelling a deal "in the neighbourhood of 30-35 million pounds, probably only the first tranche of an ongoing program which could reach 100-120 million pounds over a period of time."


The Viggen pitch to India was of immense interest to the U.S. As one cable (1975STATE270066_b, secret) said, the aircraft "contains a large number of parts and components of U.S. origin which are therefore subject to USG control in third-party sales."


Jaguar, meanwhile, was aggressively in the hunt. A November 19, 1975 cable (1975NEWDE15350_b, confidential), said: "London has now decided to offer the Government Of India a more favorable financing arrangement, 71/4 percent over five years, than was earlier the case. The GOI has asked for two percent over 15 years, but the British tell us this is impossible. The GOI still wants 40 aircraft to be delivered within 36 months. The original British offer was 60 months, but they are now talking in terms of 40 odd months." The cable ends by saying that the final decision was expected to be political and made by the Prime Minister.


Another cable (1975PARIS33184_b confidential) details French concern that "Mrs Gandhi's advance toward dictatorship is now irreversible, and that French Prime Minister Chirac was unhappy with the idea of appearing to condone this development through his official visit" but also nursed the hope that the visit would be able to improve sales prospects for the Mirage F-1.


By the next year, the French Embassy is convinced (1976NEWDE00845_b, confidential) that it is Prime Minister [Indira] Gandhi alone who will make the final decision, and it will be on political grounds. The Swedes are also pushing their product. The French believed that the Swedes had dropped their price and offered to take rupees in payment. They were seen as moving towards delivering the first 24 to 36 aircraft to India, with the next aircraft being assembled in India under licence.


https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1975NEWDE14031_b.html


SWEDISH NEGOTIATIONS WITH INDIANS ON VIGGEN AIRCRAFT


Date:1975 October 21, 12:25 (Tuesday)   Canonical ID:1975NEWDE14031_b


Original Classification:CONFIDENTIAL   Current Classification:UNCLASSIFIED

Handling Restrictions:-- N/A or Blank --   Character Count:1914

Executive Order:GS   Locator:TEXT ON MICROFILM,TEXT ONLINE

TAGS:FR - France | IN - India | MASS - Military and Defense Affairs--Military Assistance and Sales | PFOR - Political Affairs--Foreign Policy and Relations | SW - Sweden | UK - United Kingdom   Concepts:AIRCRAFT SALES | NEGOTIATIONS


Enclosure:-- N/A or Blank --   Type:TE

Office Origin:-- N/A or Blank --

Office Action:ACTION NEA   Archive Status:Electronic Telegrams

From:India New Delhi   Markings:Margaret P. Grafeld Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 06 JUL 2006

To:China United States Liaison Office Peking | Commander in Chief US Pacific Command | Defense Intelligence Agency | Department of State | France Paris | MOSSOW | Sweden Stockholm | United Kingdom London   



1. SWEDISH EMBOFF HAS INFORMED US THAT MAIN INDIAN NEGOTIATOR

WITH SWEDES ON VIGGEN AT NEW DELHI END HAS BEEN MRS. GANDHI'S

OLER SON, RAJIV GANDHI. LATTER'S ONLY ASSOCIATION WITH

AIRCRAFT INDUSTRY (TO OUR KNOWLEDGE) HAS BEEN AS PILOT

FOR INDIAN AIRLINES AND THIS IS FIRST TIME WE HAVE HEARD

HIS NAME AS ENTREPRENEUR.


2. SWEDISH EMBOFF SAYS THAT DASSAULT HAS SON-IN-LAW

OF INDIAN AIR MARSHALL MEHRA AS ITS CHIEF NEGOTIATOR FOR

MIRAGE SALE.

MRS. GANDHI (ACCORDING TO SWEDISH INFO) HAS MADE PERSONAL DECI-

CONFIDENTIAL


CONFIDENTIAL


PAGE 02  NEW DE 14031  211535Z


SION NOT TO PURCHASE BRITISH JAGUAR BECAUSE OF HER PREJUDICES

AGAINST BRITISH. DECISION WOULD BE BETWEEN MIRAGE AND VIGGEN. THE

SWEDISH DIPLOMAT SAID THAT SWEDEN'S NEUTRAL POSITION IN WORLD POLI-

TICS IS OFFSETTING VIGGEN'S HIGHER COST. HE EXPRESSED

IRRITATION AT THE WAY MRS. GANDHI IS PERSONALLY DOMINATING NE-

GOTIATIONS, WITHOUT INVOLVEMENT OF INDIAN AIR FORCE OFFICERS.


3. ACCORDING TO SWEDISH EMBOFF, NEGOTIATIONS WITH SWEDES ARE

FOR 50 VIGGEN AIRCRAFT TO BE DELIVERED AT $4-5 MILLION PER

AIRCRAFT* SWEDES BELIEVE INDIANS HAVE MADE DECISION NOT TO

PURCHASE ANY MORE SOVIET MILITARY AIRCRAFT.


4. DAO COMMENT: DAO HAS NO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION TO EITHER

REFUTE OR CONFIRM THE ABOVE INFORMATION.

SAXBE



CONFIDENTIAL

https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1976NEWDE01909_b.html


SWEDES SEE VIGGEN AGAIN ACTIVE COMPETITOR


Date:1976 February 6, 12:37 (Friday)   Canonical ID:1976NEWDE01909_b


Original Classification:CONFIDENTIAL   Current Classification:UNCLASSIFIED

Handling Restrictions:-- N/A or Blank --   Character Count:3535

Executive Order:X1   Locator:TEXT ON MICROFILM,TEXT ONLINE

TAGS:IN - India | MASS - Military and Defense Affairs--Military Assistance and Sales | PFOR - Political Affairs--Foreign Policy and Relations | SW - Sweden | US - United States   Concepts:FIGHTER AIRCRAFT | MILITARY SALES | NEGOTIATIONS

Enclosure:-- N/A or Blank --   Type:TE


Office Origin:-- N/A or Blank --

Office Action:ACTION NEA   Archive Status:Electronic Telegrams

From:India New Delhi   Markings:Margaret P. Grafeld Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 04 MAY 2006

To:Commander in Chief US Pacific Command | Defense Intelligence Agency | Department of State | France Paris | Pakistan Islamabad | Russia Moscow | Sweden Stockholm | United Kingdom London   



1. THE SWEDES HERE ARE ONCE AGAIN OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THEIR

CHANCES OF SELLING THE VIGGEN TO THE INDIAN AIR FORCE.

THE SAAB SCANIA SALES MANAGER AND THE CHIEF TECHNICAL

ADVISOR, THE FORMER ACTING COMMANDER OF THE SWEDISH AIR

FORCE, RETURNED TO NEW DELHI TEN DAYS AGO FOR CONFERENCES

WITH THE INDIANS. THE TECHNICAL ADVISOR IS STILL HERE

AND WILL REMAIN AS LONG AS NECESSARY TO HANDLE QUESTIONS

FROM THE NEW INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTER AND NEW IAF CHIEF

OF THE STAFF, BOTH OF WHOM ACCORDING TO OUR SWEDISH

COLLEAGUE, REQUIRE TIME TO BRIEF THEMSELVES ON THE COMPETING

FIGHTERS.

CONFIDENTIAL


CONFIDENTIAL


PAGE 02  NEW DE 01909  061554Z



2. THE SWEDES HERE EXPECT THAT THE IAF WILL SEND A TEST

PILOT TO SWEDEN TO FLY THE VIGGEN SINCE THE CURRENT MODELS

COMING OFF THE LINE ARE AIRWORTHY. HE TELLS US THE INDIANS

HAVE ACCEPTED THE EXPLANATION FOR THE WING STRUCTURAL DEFECT

WHICH TEMPORARILY GROUNDED THE EARLY MODELS.

3. THE SWEDES BELIEVE THEIR MOST TELLING POINT, HOWEVER,

IS THE LONGEVITY OF THE AIRCRAFT. THEY SAY THEY HAVE CON-

VINCED THE IAF THAT THE REPLACEABLE AVIONICS PACKAGES IN THE

VIGGEN RENDER IT CAPABLE OF PERIODIC MODERNIZATION WITH

THE RESULT THAT IT WILL BE VIABLE UNTIL 2000 (WHICH SOUNDS

A BIT FAR FETCHED TO US). OUR SWEDISH COLLEAGUE SAID THE

PROPOSAL CONTINUES TO BE THAT THE INDIANS BUILD THE AIRFRAMES

AND POSSIBLY SOME ENGINES OR ENGINE COMPONENTS, BUT THE

SWEDES PROVIDE THE AVIONICS. SINCE THE INDIANS WANT "THE

BEST", ACCORDING TO OUR SWEDISH CONTACT, THE IAF REGARDS THE

AVIONICS AS VITAL. MOREOVER, THE SWEDES WOULD NOT CONSIDER

SELLING THE VIGGEN WITHOUT THE "BLACK BOXES." THESE FACTORS,

THE SWEDES ASSERT, GO A LONG WAY TO OFFSET THE DISADVANTAGE

OF RELATIVELY HIGH INITIAL UNIT COST. ANOTHER INDUCEMENT,

AS SEEN BY THE SWEDES HERE, IS THAT SAAB SCANIA HAS COMPLETED

ITS SURVEY OF INDIAN EXPORTS AND CONCLUDED IT COULD MARKET

SEVERAL ITEMS IN SWEDEN OR THE WEST MAKING A BARTER TYPE

ARRANGEMENT AT LEAST FEASIBLE FROM THE SWEDISH POINT OF VIEW.


4. THE SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER IS DUE ON A VISIT TO NEW

DELHI CIRCA MARCH 1. THE SWEDES ARE BRACED FOR ANOTHER

INDIAN APPEAL FOR CREDIT WHICH OUR COLLEAGUE SAYS SWEDEN

WILL NOT GRANT, BUT HE DID SAY THE MINISTER WOULD STRONGLY

SUPPORT THE VIGGEN SALE. OUR COLLEAGUE WOULD NOT SAY WHAT

OTHER CONCESSIONS THE SWEDES MAY BE CONSIDERING.


5. THE SWEDES HERE HAVE ALSO MADE IT QUITE CLEAR THEY

UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY INFLUENCES IN THE FINAL

DECISION IN THE FIGHTER SWEEPSTAKES. OUR COLLEAGUE DESCRIBES

RANJIV GANDHI IN FLATTERING TERMS, AND CONTENDS HIS TECHNICAL

EXPERTISE IS OF A HIGH LEVEL. THIS MAY OR MAY NOT BE. OFFHAND

WE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT A TRANSPORT PILOT NOT THE BEST EXPERT

TO RELY UPON IN EVALUATING A FIGHTER PLANE, BUT THEN WE ARE

SPEAKING OF A TRANSPORT PILOT WHO HAS ANOTHER AND PERHAPS

MORE RELEVANT QUALIFICATION.

CONFIDENTIAL


CONFIDENTIAL


PAGE 03  NEW DE 01909  061554Z


SAXBE



CONFIDENTIAL

https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1976STOCKH04230_b.html


SAAB-SCANIA REQUEST FOR U.S. PERMISSION TO EXPORT VIGGEN AND LICENSE TO INDIA


Date:1976 August 6, 14:37 (Friday)   Canonical ID:1976STOCKH04230_b


Original Classification:SECRET   Current Classification:UNCLASSIFIED

Handling Restrictions:EXDIS   Character Count:3738

Executive Order:GS   Locator:TEXT ON MICROFILM,TEXT ONLINE

TAGS:BEXP - Business Services--Trade Expansion and Promotion | IN - India | MASS - Military and Defense Affairs--Military Assistance and Sales | PFOR - Political Affairs--Foreign Policy and Relations | SAAB-SCANIA | SW - Sweden | US - United States   Concepts:CONSTRUCTION | END USE CHECKS | INDUSTRIAL PLANTS | MILITARY AIRCRAFT | SALES | STRATEGIC TRADE CONTROLS

Enclosure:-- N/A or Blank --   Type:TE


Office Origin:-- N/A or Blank --

Office Action:ACTION SS   Archive Status:Electronic Telegrams

From:Sweden Stockholm   Markings:Margaret P. Grafeld Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 04 MAY 2006

To:Australia Canberra | Austria Vienna | Department of State | India New Delhi | Pakistan Islamabad   



1.  IN RESPONSE TO MY REQUEST, SAAB-SCANIA PRESIDENT CURT

MILEIKOWSKY CALLED AT MY OFFICE THIS MORNING.  DRAWING

ON REFTEL, I INFORMED HIM THAT USG, AFTER CAREFUL

CONSIDERATION, HAS CONCLUDED THAT NO VERSION OF THE

VIGGEN CONTAINING ANY CLASSIFIED U.S. COMPONENTS WOULD

BE ACCEPTABLE FOR TRANSFER TO INDIA.  I SAID USG

WOULD ALSO OPPOSE ANY TRANSFER TO INDIA, FOR LOCAL

PRODUCTION, OF THE ADVANCED U.S. TECHNOLOGY REPRESENTED

IN THE VIGGEN'S AERODYNAMIC DESIGN, ENGINE AND FLYING

CONTROLS, NAVIGATION SYSTEM, ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS AND

WEAPONS SYSTEMS.  I SAID THAT ALTHOUGH A FORMAL USG

RESPONSE ON THIS ISSUE WOULD REQUIRE A FORMAL APPLICATION

BY GOS FOR REEXPORT OF U.S.-ORIGIN EQUIPMENT TO INDIA,

IN THE EVENT THE GOS WERE TO MAKE SUCH A REQUEST, A

NEGATIVE RESPONSE COULD BE ANTICIPATED.

SECRET


SECRET


PAGE 02        STOCKH 04230  070826Z



2.  ALTHOUGH MILEIKOWSKY WAS NOT SURPRISED AT OUR

RESPONSE, HE WAS CLEARLY DISAPPOINTED.  HIS INITIAL

REACTION WAS TO COMMENT THAT SWEDEN "MUST" SELL THE

VIGGEN ABROAD IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD CONTINUED

PRODUCTION OF THIS SOPHISTICATED WEAPONS SYSTEM.  HE

ASKED THE RHETORICAL QUESTION, "IF NOT TO INDIA, TO

WHOM CAN WE SELL THE VIGGEN?"  I REITERATED THAT USG

POLICY REMAINS THAT EACH REQUEST FROM A FOREIGN

GOVERNMENT FOR THE REEXPORT OF U.S.-ORIGIN EQUIPMENT

BE CONSIDERED ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS.  THEREFORE, IF

THE GOS AND SAAB-SCANIA WISHED TO MARKET THE VIGGEN

TO ANY OTHER COUNTRY, A FORMAL REQUEST SHOULD BE MADE

BY THE GOS AND IT WOULD BE GIVEN CAREFUL CONSIDERATION.


3.  CONTINUING, MILEIKOWSKY SAID THAT AUSTRIA WOULD BE A

POSSIBILITY AS A MARKET FOR THE VIGGEN, AND WONDERED

WHAT THE USG RESPONSE WOULD BE TO SALE OF THE VIGGEN TO

THAT COUNTRY.  I REPLIED THAT IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR

THIS EMBASSY TO SPECULATE ON WHETHER EXPORT OF THE

VIGGEN TO AUSTRIA OR ANY COUNTRY WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE,

AND REPEATED AGAIN THE NECESSITY FOR THE GOS TO MAKE

FORMAL APPLICATION IF THIS WERE ITS INTENT.


4.  MILEIKOWSKY ALSO NOTED THAT DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE

VIGGEN HAD BEEN HELD WITH THE AUSTRALIANS.  HE SAID THE

AUSTRALIANS ARE INTERESTED, BUT FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF

YEARS WILL BE FOCUSING THEIR DEFENSE EFFORTS ON

DEVELOPMENT AND PURCHASE OF ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE

EQUIPMENT.  HOWEVER, MILEIKOWSKY CONTINUED, THE

AUSTRALIANS HAVE INDICATED THEY MIGHT BE INTERESTED

IN PURCHASE OF THE VIGGEN "IN TWO OR THREE YEARS."

HE NOTED THAT SWEDES HAD IN MIND A SPECIAL VERSION

OF THE VIGGEN, ADAPTED TO AUSTRALIAN NEEDS, IF THE

ORDER WERE OBTAINED.  I COMMENTED THAT WHILE I COULD

NOT PREDICT THE RESPONSE TO A SWEDISH REQUEST TO MARKET

THE VIGGEN TO AUSTRALIA, SPEAKING PERSONALLY, I FELT THAT

SOME OF THE OBJECTIONS PRESENT IN THE INDIAN CASE WOULD

NOT RPT NOT BE PERTINENT RE POSSIBLE SALES TO AUSTRALIA.

AGAIN I EMPHASIZED THAT EACH APPLICATION WOULD BE

CONSIDERED ON ITS OWN MERITS.

SECRET


SECRET


PAGE 03        STOCKH 04230  070826Z



5.  MILEIKOWSKY THANKED ME, AND SAID SAAB-SCANIA WOULD

HAVE TO COME UP WITH ALTERNATIVE MARKETS TO INDIA FOR

EXPORT OF THE VIGGEN.  I ASSURED HIM WE WOULD CONSIDER

ANY FORMAL APPLICATION BY THE GOS CAREFULLY.  WE WILL

ALSO NOTIFY THE MFA OF US DECISION.

SMITH


NOTE BY OC/T: NOT PASSED ABOVE ADDRESSEES.


SECRET


Columbia University features N. Ram's Bofors expose in "50 Great Stories"

The Hindu's coverage on Bofors scandal is featured as one the "50 Great Stories" produced by Columbia Journalism School (CJS) alumni in the past 100 years.

The compilation, part of centenary celebrations of the CJS, features "stories reported, investigated, written, produced, filmed, edited, photographed, anchored, and/or tweeted by Columbia journalists," said a CJS release.

"N. Ram, former editor-in-chief of The Hindu, was instrumental in breaking the Bofors scandal, a bombshell story about corruption in military spending that brought down Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and changed the course of Indian politics," said the CJS website.

Mr. Ram completed his masters in comparative journalism from CJS.

The Hindu exposed the multi-crore Bofors scandal in 1989.

CHITRA: THE STORY BEHIND BOFORS

POSTED BY NL TEAM | JUNE 1, 2012 IN CAN YOU TAKE IT? |

The context of the interviews with Chitra Subramaniam and N Ram (above) is the Bofors story in particular and journalism in general. N Ram was the Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu from 2004 to 2012. For those who were not born or were too young at the time – Chitra Subramaniam was the reporter credited with breaking the Bofors kickbacks story in 1989. For those not born or were too young and disinterested until now – Bofors was a story about kickbacks paid in the purchase of a Swedish gun involving an Italian gentleman called Ottavio Quattrochi whom the BJP alleges was a family friend of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi. For those not born, too young, disinterested and living in a cave – Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Mini… Oh, never mind.

We spoke to N Ram after Madhu Trehan's interview with Chitra Subramaniam. What the two have said is in the videos above. Given below are Chitra's responses post Mr N Ram's interview.

N Ram: "Chitra Subamanium was a stringer at that time. Much of this period she was a stringer for The Hindu, based in Geneva. She struck gold by making excellent contacts for which we have nothing but praise. Her role was to send notes. Even in her book where large portions have been lifted from the columns of The Hindueven from material that she did not write. I wrote most of it. But there were also others like VK Ramachandran who visited the headquarters of Bofors and did a number of stories. So for whatever reasons, without acknowledgment that sort of stuff has been lifted and used in her book. But in that book she acknowledges correctly that the stories were written by me…often joint byline."

Chitra: In his role as an editor, Mr Ram wrote the final stories. Everybody knows who the main driver behind this investigation was.  If there had been genuine teamwork and an atmosphere of trust and transparency, the story would have stayed with the team and not moved with me an individual, when I went to The Indian Express and The Statesman.  Mr V.K. Ramachandran – as far as I know – was then a doctoral student in Finland and traveled to Sweden to pursue the story. Interestingly, I never got to meet with him throughout our working as a team on this story.

For teams to function well – and I have learned this from working with individuals and corporations – there has to be a leader who clearly defines the roles of others and ensures that every member of the team is respected.

N Ram: "We also appreciate the work of Chitra Subramanium at that time, although not what she has done later to sort of belittle the investigation, especially considering in a book, the narrative in the book she has lifted without acknowledgement. Much of the material was published in The Hindu. Most of the work is written by me, but as I said even some reportage done by my friend Prof. VK Ramachandran."

Chitra: I hadn't realised that stringers and reporters are treated differently from editors and owners in a team pursuit of factual information in a major story and that editors can help themselves to the work of stringers and reporters without any acknowledgment. Stringers and reporters work in good faith and hope to learn from their elders. How does one lift work from one's own work, especially when the work involves continuous investigation and bits and pieces are filed every day to help the bigger picture emerge?

Some of the Indian investigators belittled themselves and, by extension, India. We all know the consequences of some of the stories they planted.  I reported on what I saw. I believe that is the job of any journalist, irrespective of who is in power. Governments talk of friendly and unfriendly newspapers and owners. I didn't understand it then. I do now, but will not accept it as a given – doing so would be cynical.

In addition, The Hindu was out of the picture as far as the investigation in Switzerland was concerned as it had ceased publication of work on it in 1990. So, whatever anyone including Mr Ram has to say about how the investigations went on here is second-hand or information they may not have been able to verify independently.

N Ram: "There's no correction…nothing…no correction of any kind. The byline from the beginning, from the first day, the byline said first name Chitra Subramanium and N Ram. Of course not…Of course not…From the start because the whole thing went as it is…as printed in The Hindu. And in any case it wasn't written by her. That she herself has said, that it was mentioned from this… I don't know what she was talking about. Go to the website it's exactly the same. The work was not just for one story. The recognition…the story was selected…see, what they selected was the body of work alsosay in some cases just one story…if they did one story, but here they were saying body of work,they were picked. I had nothing to do with it. We did not enter anything…they knew…they had done their research and they had it on their records, they picked it and this is for an…alumnus. Chitra Subramanium, to the best of my knowledge, is not an alumnae of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. And…she is absolutely nothing…and I made it clear in the interview to The Hindu which also meant that it was a team work. It was not just Chitra Subramanium. She…she sent…she wrote these documents, the first ones, later on I was also there…and she struck gold but there were numerous others who contributed very important material to the Bofors investigation, without which we couldn't breakthrough…and this was recognised but not so…that is ridiculous. I think, she got into a state, I think on this…and Columbia School made it clear what it was from day one, so I think…I would expect…better from mature people."

Chitra: I had a long conversation with Elizabeth Weinreb Fishman, Associate Dean for Communications, Columbia. We spoke off-the-record, discussed journalism, ethics, the role of teams, editors, reporters etc. She said they had worked on the project (all the stories) for nearly one year. She sent me her contact details.  I don't know if the correction had anything to do with our conversation. I sent her the interview in The Hoot.

Links to Bofors (Archives)

http://www.newslaundry.com/2012/06/chitra-the-story-behind-bofors-2/


India Today  /

Archive /

NATION /

August 30, 1999 /

Story

Feud of the week

Bofors scam, Ottavio Quattrocchi become a political issue



Mr Q, he of Bofors infamy, became a political issue in absentia after Sonia Gandhi side-stepped a question about him at her press conference: "We have never seen the papers naming him in the deal. They should show the papers."

Shourie, a Bofors specialist and now BJP MP, responded with a copious documentation of 26 rulings and findings of Swiss and Indian courts and agencies. "All she has to do is read the judgements," he exclaimed.

Later Ram Jethmalani joined this fresh round in the never-ending Bofors bout. Over to Mrs G - and Mr Q.



Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bofors-scam-ottavio-quattrocchi-become-a-political-issue/1/255527.html


India Today  /

Archive /

Special Report /

September 30, 1990 /

Story

New suspicions

Documents suggest Arun Nehru knew much more about Bofors deal than he revealed


The Bofors deal leapt onto centrestage yet again last fortnight, as the controversial howitzers came back once more like Banquo's ghost, this time to haunt the Janata Dal and the Minister for Tourism and Commerce Arun Nehru.

*

Arun Nehru; and (inset) the documents published by The Independent

The documents do not establish that Nehru received kickbacks in the Bofors deal but reaffirm that he was a prime negotiator in it.

Disinterring the latest spectre was the small circulation newspaper, The Independent of Bombay, which published two documents that clearly pointed to Nehru's role as a prime negotiator in the gun deal.

Nor was the other Arun left out - another set of documents in The Daily, a Bombay tabloid, also linked the former minister of state for defence, Arun Singh, with pre-contract negotiations. But, the eye of the storm was reserved for Nehru.

Not that the documents establish that Nehru received any kickbacks in the Bofors purchase. What they do is to reaffirm that Nehru was very powerful in the first flush of Rajiv Gandhi's heydays, and was closely involved in negotiating the contract initially; and that he may know more about the deal than he has been hitherto willing to tell.

Reaffirm because, in the past, Nehru has in interviews confessed that he participated in the negotiations. But he has never expanded on his role, and the latest documents demand an amplification of the part the minister played in the tinder-box deal.

The two documents are minutes of two meetings on the Bofors deal that the Swedish diplomat Rolf Gauffin had with Nehru, then minister of state for power. They were recorded by Gauffin. The first document dated June 24,1985 clearly shows:

  • That Nehru spoke with complete authority, stressing twice that no mention be made of Rajiv and him. Gauffin's telex says: "One absolute condition for further talks with Bofors and Swedish official representatives is that neither Rajiv Gandhi's, nor Arun Nehru's name should be mentioned in connection with coming meetings."

  • It also leads to the conclusion that the Swedes would not have been talking to a minister of state for power about a high level defence contract unless he, in their perception, had the complete confidence of the then prime minister.

  • Gauffin's telex also indicates clearly that the deal had major ramifications, as procedures were being inverted for it. Gauffin writes that Nehru instructed: "Bofors should send their number one man down to New Delhi in the first week of July. The Bofors man should have 'total authority' to negotiate all conditions. No experts will be required at this stage because technicalities can wait till later."

    * * *

    (From left) Pritish Nandy, Ram Jethmalani and Chitra Subramaniam: Sparking off a ferocious battle in the press



    Pritish Nandy, editor of The independent, Ram Jethmalani and Chitra Subramaniam contend the documents were suppressed wilfully.



    Apart from this, the documents do not establish much else. But since they are the first piece of documentary evidence establishing Nehru's role in the deal - and no one questions their authenticity - they make for fairly damning material.

    Predictably, the fall-out has been confusion and a sort of sullen anger in the Janata Dal. And in an unexpected and startling development a ferocious feud has been sparked off in the media, which has from the very beginning been closely involved with investigating the Bofors deal.

    Prominent media persons who have been writing on the controversy have suddenly been divided into lobbies for and against Nehru. Chitra Subramaniam, who has long been tracking the scandal in Switzerland, is now being perceived as anti-Nehru, along with Prilish Nandy, the high-profile editor of The Independent. Arrayed on the other side are luminaries like Arun Shourie and N. Ram, who are seen to be defending Nehru. Chitra has accused Shourie of suppressing the documents which she had sent to him two months ago.

    The Indian Express in turn is questioning her credibility and charging her with suddenly going off on a tangent - raising a cry at this juncture though the documents have been with her for several months now - under the influence of Amitabh Bachchan. Sources close to Shourie say the Express editor did not refuse to carry the documents, but only wished to clarify some doubts before doing so. Detractors of Nehru, however, allege that Shourie suppressed the documents because he did not want to give a further blow to the crisis-ridden National Front Government, and endanger its very existence.

    Interestingly no one is questioning the authenticity of the documents. Says N. Ram: "I have absolutely no doubt that the documents are genuine." Express sources close to Shourie similarly admit they are "absolutely genuine". In fact, on March

    * *

    N. Ram and (right) Arun Shourie:

    Questioning the timing of the latest disclosures


    Arun Shourie - accused of suppressing the documents - and N. Ram, in turn, assert that they held up the documents for valid journalistic reasons.


    26, 1988, while reporting from Stockholm for the Express, Shourie had quoted from 'secret diplomatic despatches' sent by the Swedish Embassy in New Delhi to their Foreign Affairs Ministry outlining Arun Nehru's role as a prime negotiator in the Bofors deal. These dispatches are the very same which have appeared in the press in full now.

    While the accusations fly thick and fast, the ruling party which stormed to power largely on the Bofors platform, has been experiencing pangs of embarrassment. Yet, there has been no serious political fall-out so far.

    Even the estranged Devi Lal, an arch foe of Nehru, has chosen to ignore the revelations. And Prime Minister V.P. Singh has characteristically pre-empted criticism by declaring that the documents will be looked into by the CBI. The agency is expected to question both Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi's roles on the basis of these documents.

    As for the Congress(I), its response has been somewhat cryptic. Initially it attempted to embarrass the Government, with P. Chidambaram being the first to raise the issue against Nehru. But soon it changed its strategy from attacking Nehru to targeting V.P.

    Singh, till it seemed as if the party was almost protecting Nehru while gunning for the prime minister. V.P. Singh has been mentioned in passing in Rolf Gauffin's telex as having made a statement in Stockholm about the deal. Seizing on this, Rajiv has tried to cast aspersions on Singh by saying in an interview: "He (Singh) has been involved in the deal right from the time he went to Stockholm. He got a full brief. He got a little file we made out from the Defence Ministry."

    While this has led nowhere, there have been those who've questioned the timing of the present disclosures. Senior officials in the Government claim the documents against Nehru are aimed at sabotaging the Bofors case in the Swiss courts even as it is approaching its final stages. Their theory is that once the case begins to acquire the hue of a political vendetta, it will no longer hold water as a criminal case, and may not fall under the purview of the Swiss courts.

    * *

    V.P. Singh; and (left) Rajiv Gandhi: Unending saga


    From initially attacking Nehru, the Congress(I) has now changed its strategy to targeting V.P. Singh.


    Others feel there is more to it than meets the eye. Ram Jethmalani in particular has come out with all guns roaring, and has demanded in no uncertain terms that Nehru resign.

    Nehru's detractors also point to Rajiv's reluctance to indict his cousin, and see in it some sort of unholy conspiracy of silence. Nehru himself has been trying to maintain a low profile on the controversy, and has said he does not want to "comment on a foreign diplomat's internal notings".

    The background of the matter is that in the summer of 1985 (the documents relate to June-July 1985) Nehru was at his powerful peak. Despite his relatively unimportant portfolio, he was in total command, with a finger in almost every pie. A great deal of his power stemmed from his proximity to Rajiv. Then in the autumn of 1986, Rajiv's close friend Arun Singh was moved in as minister of state for defence.

    Arun Nehru was appointed minister of state for internal security. His role in the Bofors negotiations must have ceased by then, for within months of taking over internal security, reports about a rift between Nehru and Rajiv began making the rounds.

    Soon Nehru was on a collision course with the prime minister - over the Muslim Women's Bill, the HBJ pipeline contract in which he played a major role in upsetting Snamprogetti's 0. Quattrochhi (who is close to Sonia Gandhi) - and was divested of major portfolios with Chidambaram usurping his position. Later, Nehru finds a mention in the handwritten diary of the then Bofors president Martin Ardbo, details of which appeared in the press in early 1988.

    The diary showed that Ardbo had been visiting London to seek the advice of a person he refers to as 'H'. In September 1987, he records that "H does not care if Nero (Arun Nehru) is hurt. He does not mind even if Q is hurt. But G must be saved at all cost." Yet, despite all this, even after splitting up with Rajiv, Nehru has refused to elaborate on the backstage manoeuvrings in the Bofors deal.

    In the light of this background the recently published documents tend to raise a host of questions. If Nehru was aware of the presence of middlemen, why did he choose to keep quiet, and who were the middlemen he spoke to Gauffin about? Why did Nehru insist strictly that Rajiv and his name be kept completely under wraps? Had he been authorised by Rajiv to talk to the Swedes?

    Nehru told Gauffin "the political aspect" was most important in the deal: what was this political aspect that outweighed financial and defence considerations? And what did Nehru say to Ardbo that gave him the impression that Bofors stood a real chance of getting the contract?

    These are pressing questions that demand clear answers. It is a reasonable assumption that Nehru holds the key to many of them. The evidence so far does not link him with the pay-offs. And if Nehru does speak out the lid will be taken off the Bofors ease earlier than it would otherwise have been.



    Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/documents-suggest-arun-nehru-knew-much-more-about-bofors-deal-than-he-revealed/1/315635.html

    N. Ram's Bofors exposé in '50 great stories' by Columbia J-School alumni

    'A bombshell story that brought down Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.'


    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3308146.ece



    The Bofors exposé by N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, on corruption in the purchase of Swedish howitzers features in the list of 50 great stories by the alumni of the Columbia Journalism School in the U.S.


    Click here for a .pdf of the front page of The Hindu, October 1989


    In its tribute to the investigative journalism that helped expose the deal from 1988 onwards, the Columbia J-School states that Mr. Ram was "instrumental in breaking the Bofors scandal, a bombshell story about corruption in military spending that brought down Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and changed the course of Indian politics."


    Mr. Ram graduated from Columbia in 1968.


    The J-School, which features exhaustive information on each of the 50 stories on its website, highlighted an October 9, 1989 story by Mr. Ram and Chitra Subramaniam in The Hindu which laid out "evidence of a qualitatively new, unimpeachable kind…" that nailed Bofors' claims that "no Indians" had been paid in connection with the contract.


    Fulfilling Pulitzer's dream


    The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which compiled the list to kick-start its centennial celebrations, has hailed the 50 chosen stories for demonstrating both "the historic sweep of Columbia journalists' work, as well as their curiosity, courage, compassion, diversity, persistence and versatility." One of Joseph Pulitzer's great hopes for the J-School was that its alumni would educate and uplift the public with outstanding journalism, it said. "After a hundred years, it's fair to say that his dream has been fulfilled —and then some."


    Mr. Ram's investigative reports sit alongside other remarkable pieces of journalism such as the war reports by Carl Ackerman, among the earliest graduates of the Journalism School, Merryle Stanley Rukeyser's insightful writing on the Great Depression, reportage on the fall of the USSR by Stuart Loory of CNN and Ann Imse, Moscow correspondent of the Associated Press, and more recently Rawya Rageh, reporting on the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt for Al Jazeera in 2011. In creating such a list, the Columbia Journalism School acknowledges that while this was by no means a list of these journalists' "best" work, it was a representative snapshot of their achievements over the past century.


    A note on the J-School's website said the collection was compiled by "culling the school's archives, researching the recipients of a wide array of journalism prizes, consulting with colleagues and scouring some of the best journalism ever produced. Then, we enlisted our faculty and a group of distinguished judges to vote for their favourites." A second list of 50 stories would be announced later and "will help bring the Centennial to a close."


    It said the term "story" was used loosely: "in some cases the entry is for a single work, and in other instances the entry is a more panoramic subject to which the journalist made a significant contribution."

    http://www.wikileaks-forum.com/corruptionanti-corruption/124/rajiv-gandhis-bofors-scam/10359/


    Search Results

    1. 1989 Scandal in India N. Ram - Columbia Journalism School ...

    2. centennial.journalism.columbia.edu/1989-scandal-in-india/

    3. N. Ram, former editor-in-chief of The Hindu, was instrumental in breaking the Bofors scandal, a bombshell story about corruption in military spending that ...

    4. N Ram delivers 6th Kardaley lecture - Indian Express

    5. www.indianexpress.com/news/n-ram-delivers-6th-kardaley.../1159774/

    6. Aug 25, 2013 - Comparing the current state of journalism in the country with that in the days of Bofors scandal, Ram said the media has lost the rigour to ...

    7. N. RAM: caustic, opinionated, humane & sensitive | sans serif

    8. wearethebest.wordpress.com/.../n-ram-caustic-opinionated-humane-sensit...

    9. Jan 14, 2012 - After an eight-year tenure as its helmsman, Narasimhan Ram will ... his trenchant and hard-hitting writings had exposed the Bofors scandal.

    10. Bofors scandal - India Real Time - WSJ

    11. blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/tag/bofors-scandal/

    12. Apr 28, 2012 - Around 25 years after the Bofors scandal rocked Indian politics, Sten ...But his older brother, N. Ram, who continues to occupy the post, didn't ...

    13. Quattrocchi was fully involved in the Bofors scam: N. Ram - Part 2 ...► 1:26► 1:26

    14. in.news.yahoo.com/.../quattrocchi-fully-involved-b...

    15. Jul 14, 2013

    16. Watch the video Quattrocchi was fully involved in the Bofors scam:N. Ram - Part 2 on Yahoo India. N. Ram ...

    17. KNOW YOUR BOFORS - Frontline

    18. www.frontline.in/static/html/fl1624/16240100.htm

    19. KNOW YOUR BOFORS. The facts, the issues, and what lies ahead. N. RAM ... the prolonged cover-up of the Bofors scandal, Column 2 of the charge-sheet ...

    20. What the Bofors scandal is all about - IBNLive

    21. ibnlive.in.comIndia

    22. Apr 26, 2012 - The Haubits FH-77 gun manufactured by AB Bofors of Sweden, ... about the broadcast and the newspaper's then Editor N Ram asked her to ...

    23. Quattrocchi was fully involved in the Bofors scam_ N. Ram (part 2 ...

    24. topic.ibnlive.in.comBusiness LeadersOttavio QuattrocchiVideos

    25. Chennai, July 14 (ANI): N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu on Sunday said that Controversial Italian businessman and main accused in the Bofors scam, ...

    26. N. Ram | The Hindu Centre

    27. www.thehinducentre.com/leadership/board-of.../article4279380.ece

    28. N. Ram led The Hindu's investigation into the Bofors arms deal corruption scandal. His investigation, in association with Chitra Subramaniam and others in The ...



    http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/the-shadowthe-guns/472708/


    The shadow of the guns

    India and Congress have not learned the lessons of Bofors

    Business Standard / New Delhi Apr 27, 2012, 00:10 IST


    To many who remember the politics of the late 1980s, this is a worryingly familiar moment for India. The two periods have several common features: a rudderless government, an insurgent anti-corruption movement, and weakness on the external economic front. The sudden recurrence in the national conversation of the totemic issue of those times, the quarter-century-old Bofors kickback scandal, is thus almost fortuitous. It is partly a reminder of how little some things have changed — and how high are the stakes, still, in the reform of defence procurement and of domestic oversight of offshore accounts. It should, however, also serve as a reminder of how much the world has changed in its attitude to these problems, and how altered India's relative power is — giving it tools to address these issues that it did not have in the 1980s.


    Parliament debated the continuing salience of the issue on Thursday, provoked by a recent interview, published on thehoot.org, of the Swedish whistleblower Sten Lindstrom in which he tells the reporter Chitra Subramaniam that he believed that there was no evidence that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi took a bribe, although Mr Gandhi apparently allowed a cover-up. He also spoke about the unwillingness of political authorities to make real efforts to uncover the bribe recipients, either through statements or through tracing offshore transactions. Bharatiya Janata Party MP Jaswant Singh, speaking in the Lok Sabha, said that "In matters of corruption, there is no closure", a direct response to the Congress party's preferred approach — that the 25-year-old scandal be quietly buried. Whether or not the specific case of Bofors can be legally proceeded on now, given the various investigative failures and court judgments of the past decade and a half, Mr Singh is right on fundamentals. The essential issues that Bofors raised are still salient. India's defence procurement is insufficiently transparent, and open to misuse by influence peddlers. And India is still not proactive enough in chasing down those using offshore accounts to bypass Indian law.


    The reform of defence procurement is overdue, as the recent Tatra case has shown. Excessive discretion must be ended, and agents should be encouraged to come overground and make their lobbying efforts more open to scrutiny — since ending lobbying itself might be too tall an order. The government must also move more swiftly on making illegal money transfers and accounts in other countries available to scrutiny by law enforcement — the crucial roadblock in the Bofors investigation. It has so far claimed that the confidentiality clauses in its tax treaties with several low-tax jurisdictions do not allow even the Enforcement Directorate access to information those countries might pass to India. This reticence must end. If other countries, like the United States, could gain access to such information, there is no reason why India cannot achieve the same. The global current in favour of increased disclosure combines with India's greater economic weight to make this possible. Indian enforcement must build credibility. As Mr Singh said, "the storm of Bofors refuses to subside and the guns continue to blaze." Until the lessons of the episode that transformed its politics and forever ended Congress hegemony are learnt, the scandal will not, in any way, be a closed chapter.


    http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/bofors-/deep-throat/-removes-veil/472500/


    Bofors 'Deep Throat' removes veil

    BS Reporter / New Delhi Apr 25, 2012, 00:03 IST


    Twenty-five years after the scandal surrounding the Bofors gun deal had rocked Indian politics, Sten Lindstrom, the former head of Swedish police who led the investigations, said while there was "no evidence Rajiv Gandhi received a bribe in the Bofors procurement, he (Gandhi) watched the massive cover-up in India and Sweden and did nothing".


    Lindstrom also told Chitra Subramaniam-Duella, the reporter who collaborated with N Ram of The Hindu to unearth some of the key stories on corruption in the procurement of the guns about the conclusive evidence against Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Italian businessman then based in Delhi. In an interview carried by The Hoot, a Delhi-based website on the media, he said: "The evidence against Ottavio Quattrocchi was conclusive. Through a front company called AE 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."


    As it turns out now, Lindstrom was the whistleblower, "The Swedish Deep Throat", who leaked over 350 Bofors-related documents to Subramaniam-Duella 25 years ago. He said in the interview that Martin Ardbo, the then managing director of Bofors, was terrified about this fact becoming public. Even his marketing director, Hans Ekblom, did not know about Quattrocchi.

    "Ardbo had written in his notes that the identity of N becoming public was a minor concern but at no cost could the identity of Q (Quattrocchi) be revealed because of his closeness to R (Rajiv Gandhi). He had also mentioned a meeting between an A E Services official and a Gandhi trustee lawyer in Geneva. This was a political payment. These payments are made when the deal has to be inked and all the numbers are on the table. I spent long-hours interrogating Ardbo. He told me Arun Nehru (then closely connected to Rajiv Gandhi) was the eminence grise but not much more," Lindstrom told Subramaniam-Duella


    Lindstrom also criticised the way the subsequent V P Singh government had investigated the case. "They (a team of investigators appointed by V P Singh) gave me a list of names to pursue, including the name of Amitabh Bachchan. During that trip to Sweden, the Indian investigators planted the Bachchan angle on Dagens Nyheter (DN, the newspaper which first came out with the story about corruption in the procurement of the Bofors guns). The Bachchans took them to court in the UK and won. D N had to apologise and they said the story had come from Indian investigators. I was disappointed with the role of many senior journalists and politicians during that period. They muddied the waters." Lindstorm said.


    The Swedish investigator says the India angle came up by accident during an investigation against Bofors. "We were conducting several search and seize operations in the premises of Bofors and their executives. I have some experience in this area, so I asked my team to take everything they could find. In the pile were one set of documents to Swiss banks, with instructions that the name of the recipient should be blocked out. An accountant doing his job asked why anonymity was necessary, since the payments were legal. Bofors was unable to explain and then we found more and more documents leading to India," Lindstrom said in The Hoot interview.


    On why he leaked the documents to Chitra Subramaniam-Duella, he explains that there was disbelief and hurt when people in Sweden found some of their top politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen were involved in the scandal.


    "The $1.3-billion deal with India for the sale of 410 field howitzers and a supply contract almost twice that amount was the biggest arms deal ever in Sweden. Money marked for development projects was diverted to secure this contract at any cost. Rules were flouted, institutions were bypassed and honest Swedish officials and politicians were kept in the dark. Our former Prime Minister Olof Palme was talking peace, disarmament and sustainable development globally, while we were selling arms illegally, including to countries that were on our banned list," says Lindstrom.

    1. Rajiv Gandhi was 'negotiator' for Swedish jet firm: WikiLeaks - Times ...

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    3. Apr 9, 2013 - NEW DELHI: The latest WikiLeaks revelations of Rajiv Gandhi having been a conduit in negotiations for a Swedish fighter plane in the 70s ...

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    6. Apr 8, 2013 - Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi may have been a middleman for an arms deal in the 1970s, according to diplomatic cables published on ...

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    9. Rajiv Gandhi may have been an arms middleman: WikiLeaks ...

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    16. www.indianexpress.com/news/rajiv-gandhi...in...wikileaks.../1099234/

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    23. Apr 11, 2013 - Fresh US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have claimed thatRajiv Gandhi was the "main Indian negotiator" for Swedish aircraft ...

    24. Congress trashes WikiLeaks claim on Rajiv Gandhi, attacks BJP ...

    25. www.indianexpress.com/news/...wikileaks...on-rajiv-gandhi.../1099342/

    26. Apr 8, 2013 - Congress today trashed reports based on WikiLeaks claiming that lateRajiv Gandhi, much before becoming Prime Minister, may have been a ...

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    Chronology: Bofors graft row over 27 years

    New Delhi: Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi who died of a heart attack in Milan on Friday was formally charged inm court for allegedly being involved in the 1986 Bofors howitzer payoff scam, one of the major corruption scandals in India.


    The following is a chronology of events since 1986 in which then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and others were accused of receiving kickbacks from the Swedish gun manufacturer Bofors:



    * March 24, 1986: A $15 billion contract between the Indian government and Swedish arms company AB Bofors is signed for the supply of over 400 155mm Howitzer field guns.



    * April 16, 1987: Swedish Radio claims Bofors paid kickbacks to top Indian politicians and key defence officials to secure the deal. The claim was denied by Rajiv Gandhi.


    * Aug 6, 1987: A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is set up to probe the allegations. It submits its report two years later.


    * Nov 1989: With the opposition BJP making the Bofors kickbacks a poll issue, Rajiv Gandhi's Congress party is voted out of power in the general elections.


    * Dec 26, 1989: Prime Minister V.P. Singh's government bars Bofors from entering into any defence contract with India.


    * Jan 22, 1990: The CBI registers a complaint, following which Swiss authorities freeze accounts of Svenska and AE Services, which allegedly received unauthorised commissions for the deal.


    * May 21, 1991: While the case is being investigated, Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated.


    * July 29/30, 1993: Quattrocchi, who represented Italian fertiliser firm Snam Progetti for years, leaves India to avoid arrest.


    * Jan 21, 1997: After four years of legal wrangles, secret documents running into over 500 pages are given to Indian authorities in Berne.


    * Jan 30, 1997: CBI sets up special investigation team for the case.


    1997: CBI files a case against Quattrocchi, former Bofors agent Win Chadha, defence secretary S.K. Bhatnagar, former Bofors chief Martin Ardbo and the Bofors company. Rajiv Gandhi's name figures as "an accused not sent for trial" as he was assassinated in 1991.


    * March 18, 2000: Chadha comes to India to face trial.


    * Sep 29, 2000: Hindujas issue statement saying funds received by them from Bofors have no connection with the gun deal.


    * Oct 9, 2000: CBI files supplementary charge sheet, naming the Hinduja brothers as accused.


    * Dec 20, 2000: Quattrocchi arrested in Malaysia, gets bail but is asked to stay in the country.


    * August/October, 2001: Former defence secretary Bhatnagar dies of cancer. Win Chadha dies of a heart attack.


    * Feb 4, 2004: Delhi High Court clears Rajiv Gandhi of involvement in the scandal.


    * May 31, 2005: Delhi High Court clears the Hindujas of involvement.


    * Feb 6, 2007: Quattrocchi is detained in Argentina on Interpol lookout notice but later released.


    * Sep 29, 2009: Government tells Supreme Court about its decision to withdraw the case against Quattrocchi.


    * Dec 14, 2010: A Delhi court reserves its order on a CBI plea seeking to drop criminal proceedings against Quattrocchi.


    * Jan 3, 2011: An Income Tax tribunal rules that commission in violation of Indian laws was indeed paid to Quattrochi and Win Chadha in the gun deal that cost the national exchequer Rs.412.4 million some 23 years ago.


    * March 4, 2011: A Delhi court allows the CBI to drop all charges against Quattrochhi and to close the case.


    * April 24, 2012: Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom reveals he was "Deep Throat", the key source of journalist Chitra Subramaniam Duella's stories. He says no evidence of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi or Amitabh Bachchan in the Bofors pay-off scandal.


    * July 13, 2013: Quattrochhi dies of heart attack in Milan, Italy, aged 74.


    PTI


    Change in govt responsible for slowdown in Bofors case probe: Joginder Singh

    Last Updated: Sunday, July 14, 2013


    New Delhi: Former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Joginder Singh on Sunday said a change of government in 1989 was primarily responsible for the slowing down of the probe into the Bofors gun scam.



    Reacting to the news of the death of Italian businessman and one of the prime accused in the scam Ottavio Quattrocchi, Singh said, The government changed and the case was dragged. The case was based only on documents. It took four years just for the FIR to be lodged and accepted."


    "The CBI had to get permission from the government and it took one more year. The judge dropped the case on grounds that the CBI produced only photocopies related to it. The government refused to give permission to the CBI to approach foreign courts. The CBI is a caged parrot," he added.


    Crediting The Hindu newspaper and its editor-in-chief N Ram for bringing the scam to light, Singh, however, said that it was a tragedy that the documents related to the scam-tainted gun deal couldn't stand scrutiny in a court of law.


    "We had to get them (the accused) through legal channels. The allegation was first broadcasted by Swedish Radio. Rajiv Gandhi (former Prime Minister) was in Russia during that time. A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) enquired into this and the minutes of the JPC are now public documents. I remember that one of the opposition members had a dissent note," the former CBI director said.


    Singh today believes that former Prime Minister VP Singh won the 1989 general election because of the public hue and cry over the Rs 64 crore Bofors scam.


    He also recalls that Interpol had promised to provide all documents related to the scam within three months of it being announced, and that he personally went to Switzerland to collect the documents from the authorities there.


    The former CBI director claimed that Quattrocchi received 7.32 million dollars as commission for swinging the deal. He also said that he had no grudge against anybody linked to the scam, including Quattrocchi.


    Singh's comments came a day after Quattrocchi died of a heart attack in Milan, Italy.


    Local media reports said that his funeral will take place on Monday.


    It may be recalled that Quattrocchi represented Italian petrochemicals firm Snamprogetti and was accused of being one of the middleman in the Bofors scandal.


    He was also said to be close to the Nehru- Gandhi family, and this fuelled speculation about his rise as a power broker between New Delhi and international businesses.


    The Bofors scam relates to a March 1986 deal between the Indian Government and Swedish arms company Bofors for the supply of 410 155mm Howitzer field guns worth about 285 to 286 million dollars.


    A year later, news broke that Bofors had allegedly paid kickbacks worth Rs. 64 crore to top Indian politicians and officials to secure the deal.


    ANI

    VIP chopper scam: Defence Ministry sends final notice to AgustaWestland to ...

    India Today - ‎Oct 23, 2013‎

    Soon after the arrest of the firm's former CEO, Guiseppe Orsi, in Italy in connection with the case, Defence Minister A K Antony had suspended the payments to be made to it along with the delivery it was due to make to IAF for the remaining nine choppers.

    Copter scam: AgustaWestland gets final notice from India

    domain-B - ‎Oct 24, 2013‎

    India's defence ministry has issued a final show-cause notice to helicopter maker AgustaWestland before cancelling the controversial Rs3,600 crore contract for 12 copters dedicated to the country's amorphous fleet of 'VVIPs'. This leaves a bit of a headache ...

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    The Scandal of Look Outs


    The prevention of a well known advocate, CM Maniar, from boarding a British Airways flight puts a spotlight on some of the draconian legal provisions which could engender cronyism, nepotism and selective targeting which could harm honest people


    On the eve of Diwali, CM Maniar, well-known advocate and former non-executive director of MCX Ltd, was stopped from boarding a British Airways flight because a look out circular (LOC) has been issued against him with regard to the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) scam. So a 78-year old man, on his way to comfort and help settle his recently widowed daughter, faced the ignominy of having his baggage unloaded and being turned back at the airport.


    Wikipedia says, LOCs "are opened to trace absconding criminals and also to prevent and monitor effectively the entry or exit of persons who may be required by law enforcement authorities." Shouldn't the police have informed Mr Maniar not to leave the country without their permission? Why was information about his humiliation leaked to the media? Was it a warning to all MCX and FT directors? If so, the question is: Shouldn't NSEL defaulters, their families and key personnel be the target of LOCs rather than independent directors of group companies?


    India is a country where key players in major scandals, such as Warren Anderson of Union Carbide, Win Chadha and Ottavio Quattrochi of Bofors or even a Dinesh Dalmia ofDSQ Software, leave the country without a hassle. They also make several trips back via Nepal without even using fake passports. So, when an investigation agency actually issues an LOC, the public sees it as an indicator of the government's serious intent to bring wrongdoers to book. Is this true? Let's examine Mr Maniar's case, to arrive at some conclusions.


    Mr Maniar was not a director of the controversial NSEL where a Rs5,600-crore scam took place. He was an independent director on two group companies—MCX and Financial Technologies—along with several powerful retired regulators, Union secretaries and industrialists who quickly resigned from their cushy assignments after the NSEL scam surfaced. Who were these other influential directors? They included former finance secretary Ashok Jha (director of MCX) and former SEBI chairman GN Bajpai, former SEBI chairman (director of MCX-SX, the currency trading segment of the group and advisor). Other directors of MCX-SX include SS Thakur, former controller of foreign exchange, BD Sumitra, former director of CCIL and MV Nair, former chairman Union Bank of India (all resigned in September this year). Then there is Venkat R Chary, IAS, a former secretary, government of India (GoI) and former chairman of the Forward Markets Commission. He was the chairman of MCX, FT and the Indian Energy Exchange of the same group. There is also Ravi Sheth of Great Eastern Shipping, one of the original directors of FT.


    My inquiries in connection with Mr Maniar's lookout notice reveal that 59 people have been put on the list in connection with the NSEL scam. And most of the truly powerful members of MCX-FT group named above are not on that list. The lookout notices issued by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) (Mumbai) include all the NSEL officials who have been arrested. The group founder, Jignesh Shah, his brother and probably other family members; former CEO Anjani Sinha (now under arrest), his father and a few other senior officials of MCX-FT group such as Joseph Massey. Since information on LOCs is not in the public domain, others may face the same ignominy as Mr Maniar if they attempt to travel abroad without prior informal checking.


    This column is not making a case for withdrawing the LOC against Mr Maniar. Neither does it argue that LOCs should be issued against the clutch of regulators, bankers and government secretaries on MCX-FT group companies who were certainly in a position to influence government departments to wink at the rules and grant the exemption that allowed NSEL to exist outside the commodity regulator's supervision.


    The only point we are making is that rules have to be fair, unambiguous and transparently applied. LOCs, like various draconian laws introduced by the government, have been grossly misused to trample over human rights and dignity. What is worse, neither powerful corporate lobbies (such as CII, FICCI or Assocham) nor NGOs have bothered to protest indiscriminate arrests and humiliations in a systematic manner.


    They did not do so even when Nimesh Kampani of JM Financial Services, Minoo Shroff (former vice chairman of Raymond), AP Kurien, former executive trustee of UTI and a few others were on the run for most of 2009, because of the LOCs issued against them in connection with Nagarjuna Finance.


    In that case, too, we believe the action was politically motivated. Nimesh Kampani was the only real target (he also faced an arrest warrant), due to his connection with Reliance Industries; but other directors suffered collateral damage. The 80-year old Minoo Shroff was stuck in London for months on end and advocate LVV Iyer could not attend his son's graduation abroad because of the LOCs issued to the 23 international airports and exit points. Consider a few more facts.

    •   The Supreme Court has asked Subrata Roy of the Sahara group to submit property documents by 11th November. He has still to deposit Rs20,000 crore ordered to be paid to SEBI for repaying lakhs of people who invested in its debentures. Yet, the group founder is allowed to travel abroad. In fact, a moot question is: Why are Sahara's so-called investors so docile, even though the sums involved are four times the entire NSEL scam.

    LOCs are rarely issued against the biggest bank defaulters even when the bad debts run into thousands of crores of rupees and are backed by personal guarantees of industrialists. A prime example is Vijay Mallya, Member of Parliament, who has not paid salaries and dues to employees or even statutory dues.

    LOCs can be issued by a superintendent of police at the district level or a deputy secretary of the government (source wikipedia) and are misused by influencing these officials. Petty fights, business rivalries or domestic issues are reason enough to have LOCs issued. In fact, the gross misuse of power has led to a decision that LOCs can only be issued by officers of the rank of a deputy commissioner of police (DCPs).

    There are several instances where LOCs suddenly appear on immigration computers 10 years after a problem; or where persons are arrested on their return to India (where there is no question of fleeing the country); or harassed at immigration even while travelling abroad with court permission. Do you know that even film-star Shilpa Shetty had an LOC issued against her after someone objected to Hollywood star Richard Gere kissing her at a public event in a choreographed act?

    Stringent legal provisions meant to protect women are also being unscrupulously misused to the extent that there is an entire website devoted to warning NRIs on how to 'survive' LOCs and arrests under Section 498a of the Indian Penal Code. Reading the website suggests that there are as many victims of Section 498a combined with Interpol Red Corner notices as there are battered and deserted wives of non-resident Indians. Many have paid hefty sums of money in blackmail to avoid arrest and humiliation with police officials sharing the loot.


    This overarching power of police and investigation agencies can affect anybody at anytime. As with most laws in India, these powers will usually be used against those who are relatively weak, defenceless or law-abiding or as part of vendetta unleashed by the State against whistleblowers. NSEL is a rare example when the same grounds on which an LOC was issued against Mr Maniar are also applicable to a set of powerful former regulators and IAS officials. Now is the time to press for reform, transparency and fairness in the application of draconian legal provisions which cause lasting damage to the lives of honest persons.


    Sucheta Dalal is the managing editor of Moneylife. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2006 for her outstanding contribution to journalism. She can be reached atsucheta@moneylife.in

    http://www.moneylife.in/article/the-scandal-of-look-outs/35198.html


    Legality issue of CBI

    - Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: November 12, 2013 -



    Alarmed over the possible ramifications, the Supreme Court of India may have stayed the November 7 Gauhati High Court verdict that invalidated the formation of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after the Centre sought a special sitting at the Chief Justice's home during the weekend break and fixed December 6 as the next date of hearing of the case, thus, giving some breather, but the real issue at stake, we feel, is not so much about the constitutional validity of the India's premier investigating agency, but its credibility and functioning as an autonomous body.


    As Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has stated during the conference of CBI and State Anti-Corruption Bureau on Common Strategies to Combat Corruption and Crime on Monday, November 11 at the National capita, his Government will surely look "promptly" into the legality issue of CBI raised by the Gauhati High Court and do "all that is necessary" to establish the "legitimacy" of the CBI, and "protect its past and future".


    So, the question over the validity of India's premier investigating agency as a legally constituted police force is as good as a thing of the past already without even waiting for the next hearing of the case.


    Nonetheless, it is good to know that the verdict of the Gauhati High Court has once again raked up the debate over the credibility of the premier investigating police agency of the country after the recent observation of the Supreme Court of India on the functioning of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a 'caged parrot speaking in its master's voice'.


    How the agency, which was established for the first time in 1941 under the name of Special Police Establishment before it takes the present name of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the motto 'Industry, Impartiality and Integrity' on April 1, 1963, has eroded its reputation over the years is an open secret.


    Joginger Singh, who was the Director of CBI from 1996 to 1997, and BR Lall, former DGP of Haryana, who handled many high-profile cases including the famous Jain Hawala case during his stint as Joint Director of CBI from 1994 to 1996, have earlier exposed how the investigating agency was engaging in nepotism, mal-prosecution and outright corruption.


    In his book, "Who Owns CBI: The Naked Truth", which was published in 2006, BR Lall provided details on the modus operandi of CBI in manipulating and derailing investigation.


    In short, with CBI handling many high-profile cases including Bofors scandal, Bhopal gas tragedy, 2G Spectrum Scam and the currently raging Indian coal allocation scam or 'Coalgate', the Central probe agency has never been far away from controversy on account of undue interference from the side Government.


    So, ensuring the autonomy of the Central Bureau of Investigation is essential to prevent the any Government of the day from misusing and meddling in the operation of the agency. CBI must be empowered to stand up against all 'pulls and pressures' from the Government and its officials.


    In other words, the faith of the people in CBI would come from its autonomy that would give the voice to speak of its own and not of its master's.

    http://e-pao.net/epSubPageExtractor.asp?src=news_section.editorial.editorial_2013.Legality_issue_of_CBI_HL_20131112


    Do we need a decisive poll mandate?

    History suggests fractured mandates haven't resulted in doom & gloom

    On May 17, 2004, trading at the BSE and the National Stock Exchange had to be halted twice because of free falls in share prices. Following the defeat of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Lok Sabha elections, market participants were a worried lot. They feared the fractured electoral mandate, one that had given Left parties a say in the affairs of the Centre, would result in a hostile policy regime.


    Five years later - on May 18, 2009 - trading at the share market had to be stopped twice, this time due to unprecedented surges in share prices. This was the market's way of celebrating an election verdict seen as crucial to expectations that there would be no stopping key economic reforms now.


    Is there any reason to celebrate a decisive verdict and bemoan a fractured mandate?


    Typically, a decisive mandate is associated with a host of advantages. A stable government, which a decisive verdict produces, lends a sense of predictability to the decision-making process, and this is perceived to be less risky for investors. "In case of a stable government, you can fix responsibility for any decision taken. With responsibility comes transparency, in due course. However, in the case of a fractured mandate, everything - a bad decision, delay in decision or no decision - is blamed on coalition dharma, which is bad for the country. This is the reason why we need a decisive verdict," says share market analyst Gul Teckchandani.


    The advantages of a decisive verdict notwithstanding, have decisive verdicts delivered? Conversely, have fractured mandates resulted in chaos? History presents a mixed picture. "Since 1989, India has been governed by multi-party coalitions at the Centre. This period has also coincided with India's growth take-off. A coalition government has not hampered economic growth in the slightest, if the last two decades are any indication. All the major economic reforms of the early 90s were under a coalition government. So, coalitions can muster the political will to take tough decisions and unleash reforms if the conditions are right," says Milan Vaishnav, an associate with the South Asia programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


    To understand whether fractured mandates should be feared, let's consider the record of weak governments. Ironically, some of the most enduring decisions had been taken by governments that didn't have thumping majorities in Parliament. The V P Singh government, which survived on support from the Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party, is credited to have provided reservation in government jobs to Other Backward Classes. The Narasimha Rao government, which was short of clear majority for at least two years, led the country to major economic reforms.


    The two not-so-stable coalition governments under the NDA and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) gave us, among others, a nuclear test, golden quadrilateral highways project, the Right to Information legislation, rural employment guarantee scheme and the Indo-US nuclear deal. Incidentally, the UPA-II government, a result of a seemingly decisive verdict, went into a policy overdrive only after it lost support of some important allies. "If one looks at the 2009 election results, the Congress party's seat share increased to 206 seats from only 145 seats in 2004. Thus, according to conventional wisdom, UPA-II was much better placed to take decisive action, as the Congress had a much stronger hand vis-à-vis its coalition partners. But the results do not support this. UPA-I, with a much weaker Congress party tally, succeeded in taking a number of bold decisions - from passing the Right to Information Act to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and ratifying the US-India civil nuclear cooperation deal. By contrast, UPA-II has a much thinner record of legislative accomplishment," says Vaishnav.


    However, critics of weak governments point out while such governments do take decisions, implementing these become a major challenge. They cite the case of allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail. Despite a new legislation in place, investors are unwilling to bet their money, fearing policy reversal.


    Let's consider the records of governments formed after decisive verdicts. In the post-Jawaharlal Nehru era, the first decisive election verdict was in favour of Indira Gandhi, in 1971. The massive mandate climaxed with the imposition of Emergency in 1975. Media censorship and forced sterilisation were some of the many excesses during the Emergency. In 1984, we had another decisive verdict, following which Rajiv Gandhi became prime minister. His government is known for, among others, the Bofors scam and the Shah Bano case. While the former was the first scam involving the high and mighty, the Shah Bano episode came in for severe criticism, as the government at that time was seen to be bowing to the demands of fundamentalists.


    More recently, we had a decisive verdict in 2009. For the first time in many years, the ruling coalition had the support of more than 300 Lok Sabha members. However, the same government was accused of 'policy paralysis' and mega scams such as irregularities in the allocation of 2G telecom spectrum and coal blocks.


    History suggests decisive verdicts haven't really been all that decisive, while fractured mandates haven't resulted in doom and gloom. "The debate is not about decisive or fractured mandates. We have entered a coalition era and it is here to say. What is important is what does the government do in the first two years of its existence? After that, coalition compulsions take precedence over everything else. We should also take heart from the fact that there is broad consensus among all parties about economic policies," says Madan Sabnavis, chief economist, CARE Ratings.


    Does this mean economy watchers shouldn't worry too much about election outcome? Is that the reason why share markets are making a dash at fresh peaks without bothering too much about what will happen in Lok Sabha elections next year?

    http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/do-we-need-a-decisive-poll-mandate-113111200005_1.html

    BNLIVE » INDIA

    From Jeep scandal to helicopter deal: A brief history of defence scams

    New Delhi: From time to time a new case of kickbacks in defence deals come to light. Some of the defence deals have led to major changes in the political environment and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress lost the 1989 Lok Sabha elections government after the 1987 Bofors scam.

    Here is a list of the famous cases of corruption in defence deals that have taken place in India after Independence.

    Jeeps scam, 1948: After Independence the Indian government signed a deal with a company in England to supply 200 Jeeps. The contract was worth Rs 80 lakh but only 155 Jeeps were delivered. The then India's high commissioner to England VK Krishna Menon was embroiled in the controversy. But the case was closed in 1955 and later Menon went on to become former prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru's trusted aide and India's defence minister.

     

    Here is a list of the famous cases of corruption in defence deals that have taken place in India after Independence.

    Bofors scam, 1987: Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was at the centre of the Bofors scandal after allegations that Rs 64 crore was paid to middlemen to facilitate the deal for the 155mm howitzers from the Swedish firm Bofors. The allegations were first made by the Swedish radio. It was alleged that Ottavio Quattrocchi, who was close to the family of Rajiv Gandhi, acted as a middleman in the deal and received kickbacks. The deal for 400 Bofors guns was worth $1.3 billion.

    Barak missile scam: India had planned to purchase Barak missile from Israel. But former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who was the scientific adviser to the Prime Minster when the Barak missile deal was being negotiated, had opposed the weapons system. India had bought seven Barak missile systems costing Rs 1,150 crore from Israel. The CBI had registered an FIR in the case in 2006. Former treasurer of the Samata Party RK Jain was arrested in the case. The CBI had questioned why the system was purchased even after the DRDO had raised its objections. According to the CBI the missile system was purchased at a much higher rate than that initially quoted by Israel. It was also alleged that the then defence minister George Fernandes had ignored the objections raised by the scientific adviser.

    Coffin scam, 1999: During the 1999 Kargil war coffins were purchased top sent the bodies of martyred soldiers to their families. The CBI had registered a case against a US contractor and some senior Army officers. Then Defence Minister George Fernandes was also accused of being involved in the case.

    Tehelka scam,1999: Tehelka.com, an online news portal revealed how army officers and political leaders were involved in taking bribes during arms deals. The sting showed that bribes were paid in at least 15 deals including the Barak missile case. In this sting which was code named Operation West End two Tehelka journalists posed as arms dealers and met several politicians and defence officers. Former BJP president Bangaru Laxam was shown taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh in the sting. Then Samata Party chief George Fernandes's close friend Jaya Jaitley was also seen speaking to the Tehelka journalists. The government had also acted against one one Major General and four other senior army officers after their name cropped up the in sting operation. Fernandes, who was the defence minister then, resigned after the tapes were made public, but he was reinstated later.

    Sudipta Ghosh case, 2009: In 2009 the former Ordnance Factory Board director general Sudipta Ghosh was arrested by the CBI. Ghosh had allegedly taken bribes from two Indian and four foreign companies which had been blacklisted by Defence Minister AK Antony.

    Tatra trucks scam, 2012: Former Army Chief General VK Singh alleged that he was offered Rs 14 crore as bribe to clear a the purchase of Tatra trucks. Questions were also raised about the quality of the trucks.

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/from-jeep-scandal-to-helicopter-deal-a-brief-history-of-defence-scams/372801-3.html


    A for Adarsh, B for Bofors: Cong, BJP give new meanings to alphabets to mock each other

    Major rival parties in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh are literally waging a 'war of words' by coining meanings to alphabets to highlight issues of corruption allegedly linked to each other.

    Experts feel that this is not a good thing as it may send a wrong message among children when they listen to such attribution of meanings to alphabets. The ruling BJP in the state has coined terms like 'A for Adarsh scam, B for Bofors scam, C for CWG scam, D for Damad Ka Scam, E-Enron Scam' and so on in an alphabetical order till Z, as highlighted by party leaders during their poll rallies, against the Congress.

    Not to be left behind, the Congress hit back at the BJP by formulating a similar order in Devnagiri (script) language's "Barahkhadi", of scams which allegedly took place during the BJP's governance, specially in MP.

     

    A for Adarsh, B for Bofors: Cong, BJP give new meanings to alphabets to mock each other

    State Congress unit issued a press note last month highlighting scams in 'Barahkhadi' (of Hindi) order - "A-Apex Bank Ghotala (scam) AA-Aditya Construction Company Ghotala, E-Indore Vikas Pradhikaran Ghotala, EE-E-tendering Ghotala, U-Udyogon ka nakli sapna, Uu-Urja kharid Ghotala, A-Arrears Ghotala, Ai-Essar coal Block Ghotala, O-Ola-pala muawja Ghotala, Ou-Aurton par Atyachar...and so on."

    However, experts feel politicians should not coin such words. "In politics, rivals use various ways to down each other by phrasing things in such a manner, but politicians should also think about its wider impact on the society," Dr Gyanendra Gautam, head of sociology department in Barkatullah University, told PTI.

    "In terms of political socialisation, when children listen to such things they start believing two things about politics, first, that it is a bad thing and secondly, it is a mechanism to mint money...which is not good for the society as such," Gautam said.

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/a-for-adarsh-b-for-bofors-cong-bjp-give-new-meanings-to-alphabets-to-mock-each-other/430385-80-260.html


    Leaks in high places

    Espionage: Prosecution of two officials sends shivers down bureaucratic spines



    In the normal course, the packages would have been winging their way to their destinations in a matter of hours. But for a small discrepancy which triggered off Thomas' suspicions. He knew that the parcels had originated from William Jacks, a company owned by K.K. Jajodia and his son A.K. Jajodia, which frequently used his courier services. But the sender's name and address on both parcels had been intentionally falsified.


    Thomas opened the packages. The one addressed to Paris contained an army document prominently marked 'secret': a photocopy of a trial report of a battlefield surveillance radar, evaluated by the Army School of Artillery at Deolali. The second package contained 13 letters addressed to the Ministry of Defence. Some dealt with the Flycatcher radar, used by the army to detect low-flying aircraft and the other referred to a modification proposal for the Super Flader Maus radar used by the defence forces.


    The courier company promptly called in the CBI, which in turn raided Jajodia's house to recover another secret document, containing details of the army's operational requirement for utility helicopters. Tracing the source of the leaked documents, the CBI investigators sniffed their way into the very heart of the defence establishment.


    One trail led the CBI to the office of the Adviser (Defence Electronics) in the Department of Electronics, Dr N.W. Nerurkar, and the other to Brigadier R.S. Diol in the Directorate of Weapons and Equipment at Army Headquarters. The Jajodias were arrested in June 1988 and Diol and Nerurkar in November 1988. The CBI charged them with offences under sections 3 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act, which carry a maximum punishment of 14 years.


    Discreet inquiries were initiated to ascertain the extent of Nerurkar's access to the secrets of the three services. The Defence Ministry was horrified to discover that Nerurkar had been privy to a treasure trove of sensitive information pertaining to current and future equipment plans of all three services.


    Nine years earlier, in 1979, the Defence Ministry had directed the army, the navy and the air force to inform the adviser (defence electronics) of all their plans to procure major equipment with an electronic component; the adviser would determine whether the electronic component could be manufactured indigenously or whether import was inescapable. Nerurkar had been performing this function of adviser for over 10 years, so there was little he did not know about the equipment plans of the three services. In exercise of the powers conferred on him, Nerurkar had, in the early 1980s, asked in writing for the Indian Air Force's future procurement plans.


    The arrest of Diol and Nerurkar set the alarm bells ringing in the Defence Ministry. "If Nerurkar is a spy, then the country's defence strategies, equipment and operational plans would have been compromised," commented a senior official of the Department of Electronics and a former colleague of Nerurkar. The same would apply to Diol, who, as brigadier (general staff) in the Directorate of Weapons and Equipment, dealt with most of the army's equipment plans.


    As a first step, the Defence Ministry some months ago pruned the powers of the adviser (defence electronics); it ordered that all super-sensitive equipment plans need not be sent to the Department of Electronics for clearance. According to government guidelines, top secret documents are meant to be kept in the custody of officers of the rank of joint secretary and above and handled with utmost care. They are not supposed to take these documents home or even pass the documents on to people below them.


    Papers marked 'secret' can be marked down to junior officials, but a record of the movement of the papers has to be maintained. The rules pertaining to movement of 'confidential' and 'restricted' documents are a little less tight.


    There is a general tendency in government offices to over-classify papers. And even the senior-most officials are forced to take sensitive documents home, even though this is technically against the rules. They say it is logistically impossible for them to deal with all these papers during office hours.


    But are Nerurkar and Diol really spies? The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi, J.M. Malik, found enough evidence of a prima facie case against them in September when he committed all the accused to stand trial before a sessions court. What is the evidence against them?


    The CBI found that the evaluation report of the West German manufactured RATAC-S battlefield surveillance radar, discovered by the courier in the package being sent to France by the Jajodias, was a photocopy of the report sent to the Department of Electronics by Army Headquarters.


    Nerurkar had received the report on February 17, 1987, and kept it with him till April 9, when he forwarded it to a joint director in his department, S.P. Singh. Experts of the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory opined that the copy being sent abroad had been xeroxed from Nerurkar's copy.


    The second parcel opened by the courier contained 13 letters pertaining to the army's Flycatcher radar and the Super Flader Maus radar. Nerurkar was dealing with these radars, and had in August 1986, sought written permission from the secretary of the Department of Electronics to continue dealing with the three radars. The CBI feels it was too much of a coincidence that a xerox copy of the evaluation report of one of these radars (BFSR) and letters pertaining to the other two, all being handled by Nerurkar, found their way to the Jajodias.


    According to the complaint filed in court by the CBI, Diol too had gone out of his way to obtain a copy of the note on "operational requirement of utility helicopters for the army", prepared by the Directorate of Army Aviation. In the normal course, this note would not have come to the Directorate of Weapons and Equipment where Diol worked. But Diol pointedly asked Lt-Colonel S.K. Singh for the note on the helicopters and it was sent to him. Diol kept the note with him for about a month, from February 17, 1987, till March 20, 1987. On April 21, 1987 a copy of the same note was recovered by the CBI during a raid on Jajodia's house.


    As adviser (defence electronics), N.W. Nerurkar was privy to sensitive information about the equipment plans of all three services.

    On the note which had been sent to Diol, the Additional Director-General of Army Aviation, Brigadier Atma Singh, had made some handwritten notations. When the note was returned to Brigadier Atma Singh in June 1987, the notations were partially erased. Forensic experts told the CBI that the note found in Jajodia's house was a xerox copy of the one sent to Diol by Brigadier Atma Singh.


    When the CBI subsequently searched Diol's house at noida, it was looking for evidence that Diol was living beyond his means. What they found, instead, was a bunch of files, some dating back to the period Diol was military attache in Paris (1979 to 1983), and some to his stint in the Weapons and Equipment Directorate. A whole set of papers pertained to the 1982 Europe trip of General Sundarji, then deputy chief of army staff, to evaluate the now notorious Bofors 155mm Howitzer gun and its French and Austrian rivals. During that trip, Sundarji had handed over his set of evaluation papers to Diol. This Diol inexplicably retained, and they were found at his house by the CBI.


    The bureau charged Diol under the Official Secrets Act, for allegedly leaking the utility helicopter note to the Jajodias, but has not till now charge-sheeted him in the case pertaining to the Sundarji papers. The CBI had, in fact, kept the recovery of the Sundarji papers very quiet, and not charge-sheeted Diol in this case.


    But after Sundarji's interview (india today, September 15) which embarrassed the Government, a senior CBI official deliberately leaked to the press the news that Sundarji had been questioned for his carelessness in leaving his papers with Diol and not asking for their return subsequently.


    The senior official is believed to have asked for the whole file on the Diol case to be put up to him and within a few days a front-page story appeared in a Delhi Sunday paper saying that the CBI would be questioning Sundarji again.


    This was apparently done to warn Sundarji against making any more disclosures on Vaffaire Bofors. Sundarji himself recognised this blatant warning. He said Diol was innocent of any wrongdoing as far as the Bofors gun papers were concerned. "Of course they are sending me a message," scoffed Sundarji. CBI andHome Ministry officials feel Sundarji had been remiss in leaving the papers with Diol and not inquiring about their fate later.


    When they searched Diol's house, the CBI found 14 tolas of gold which he had brought back from France in 1983 without declaring them to the customs, and bonds worth Rs.1.8 lakh, bought with the money Diol had got by commuting his* pension. Nerurkar's bank account too contained meagre savings.


    Though the CBI has charged Diol and Nerurkar with entering into a criminal conspiracy with the Jajodias, it has not yet been able to establish any connection between Diol and Nerurkar. The CBI's charge of a link between Jajodia and Nerurkar is based on a statement by Jajodia's driver that he used to take the Jajodias to the office of Nerurkar; and the presence of Nerurkar and Diol's residential phone numbers in the diary of Jajodia's telephone operator.


    The Jajodia-Diol connection, alleged by the CBI, is also based on a statement by Jajodia's driver, Rakesh Kumar Singh. Singh said that on at least half a dozen occasions between the end of 1986 and early 1987 he picked up Diol from outside a five-star hotel and drove him to the Jajodias' house, and back after an hour. The driver's evidence will be crucial to the prosecution case. After the CBI raid, the Jajodias sent the driver back to his village; he sat at home for over a year and received his salary every month by money order. By spiriting away this crucial witness, the Jajodias unwittingly gave the game away.


    This apart, the case has taken a strange turn. Prima facie, the strongest case appears to be against the Jajodias who were sending sensitive defence documents to a foreign country. Whether these documents actually came from Nerurkar and Diol can be proven conclusively only in the sessions court trial, which has yet to begin.


    In the meantime, the Jajodias hired one of the best-known criminal lawyers in the country and obtained' anticipatory bail from the high court. Seemingly unperturbed they have been travelling abroad frequently.


    Nerurkar and Diol, on the other hand, are still in jail. Nerurkar's family finds it hard to pay for a lawyer, so Nerurkar argued his own case in the lower court. He has spent his time in prison studying law and the Official Secrets Act under which he has been charged. Diol's family too lacks the resources to hire a big name as lawyer.


    This apparent in justice has united and angered the scientific community, which regards Nerurkar as a gifted scientist. When Nerurkar was arrested, his colleagues in the Department of Electronics met Professor M.G.K. Menon, science adviser to the prime minister, to plead that Nerurkar be given bail. Menon spoke to the then cabinet secretary, B.G. Deshmukh, who phoned CBI chief Mohan Katre, only to be told that this was a serious case. Nerurkar's colleagues are now collecting money to help him get legal aid when the trial begins in the sessions court.


    Meanwhile, the trial looks like becoming a test case to challenge the antiquated Official Secrets Act, which, in the words of Dr Y.S. Chitale, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, gives the Government "great potential to harass innocent persons, if it wants".


    There is another side-light. The community of scientists is closely following the case. All of them regularly handle sensitive, secret documents. At the back of their minds is the worrying realisation: tomorrow it could happen to them.



    Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/espionage-prosecution-of-two-officials-sends-shivers-down-bureaucratic-spines/1/324106.html


    Bofors scam will not be forgotten after Quattrocchi's death: BJP

    Last Updated: Sunday, July 14, 2013


    New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday said that the Congress party should not be under the impression that the death of Ottavio Quattrocchi, the main accused in the Bofors, will cover the scam.



    Speaking to mediapersons here, BJP spokesperson Vijay Sonkar Shastri said that the Bofors scam is a big scar on the political face of the country.


    "Congress should not have this misconception that this issue is over because this case is a scar on the face of political history of India. And as far as Quattrocchi is concerned, the CBI is yet to give him a clean chit till date." he said.


    Quattrocchi allegedly acted as a conduit in the scam which caused heavy damage to the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who lost the 1989 elections.


    The Italian businessman left the country in 1993 to avoid being arrested.


    The case was closed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011 with no person ever being convicted of in the scam.


    "He (Quattrocchi) never said that he did not take any money in the Bofors scam. He always maintained that he was an intermediary and I got this deal done and I was paid for it. Now the question arises that for whom did Quattrocchi take the money? And in this matter the court has decided that he did not have any connection with the Gandhi family and I don't want to contest the court's judgment," said Prem Shankar Jha, political analyst.


    The Italian businessman and one of the prime accused in the scam, Ottavio Quattrocchi, died of a heart attack on Saturday in Milan, Italy.


    Local media reports said that his funeral will take place on Monday. It may be recalled that Quattrocchi represented Italian petrochemicals firm Snamprogetti and was accused of being one of the middleman in the Bofors scandal.


    He was also said to be close to the Nehru- Gandhi family, and this fuelled speculation about his rise as a power broker between New Delhi and international businesses.


    The Bofors scam relates to a March 1986 deal between the Indian Government and Swedish arms company Bofors for the supply of 410 155mm Howitzer field guns worth about 285 to 286 million dollars. A year later, news broke that Bofors had allegedly paid kickbacks worth Rs 64 crore to top Indian politicians and officials to secure the deal.


    ANI


    MAINSTREAM, VOL LI, NO 19, APRIL 27, 2013

    Bofors Deal, CBI, Coal Blocks Allotment

    Kuldip Nayar

    The spat between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the new tranche of WikiLeaks, alleging former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to have negotiated for the Swedish jet, is understandable when the country is on the brink of general elections. According to the latest bunch of US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks, Rajiv Gandhi may have been a middleman for the Swedish company, Saab-Scania, when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the seventies.

    There may be more to it than just the timing of the leaks but, as one would expect, the Congress has reacted accusing the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, of spreading "lies and falsehoods" even as the party dismissed the charges against Rajiv Gandhi as baseless.  The BJP, on the other hand, jumped at the first opportunity to mount its attack while deman-ding the government to come out clean on the revelations. Not to be outdone, the Congress too reminded its rival of another cable that spoke of a senior NDA leader demanding money from the CIA for his underground activities.

    My point is not whether or not Rajiv Gandhi was a middleman and negotiated the jet deal or whether the NDA leader did seek money from the CIA. In fact, if corruption were the yardstick to judge them, I would find no difference between the Congress and BJP, the two political parties which occupy the largest space in India. Both have been disfigured by too many scams, too many times. Still there is no end to them and their involvements. Both parties live in glass houses and they should not, to use George Bernard Shaw's words, change clothes  with the lights on.

    If the Congress had been revisited by the Bofors gun deal payoffs, the BJP had been exposed by the conviction of Bangaru Laxman, who once headed the party, in an arms deal. Yet the Congress and BJP remained deficient in sensitivity. If one rationalised that the case had been "closed", the other argued that the BJP had not at least put a gloss over the corrupt deal.

    The reference was to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who covered the tracts so well that he had left no evidence on the kickbacks, worth Rs 65 crores. Still the fact remained that both parties during their rule had used the government machinery and intelligence agencies to serve their purpose and squeezed out in the process even the last drop of legal or moral decency in the system.

    The Bofors gun scandal, indeed, took the cake. It would not have seen the light of the day if it had not been for a deep throat who gave information from within the system without coming out in the open.  When the story about the Bofors howitzer deal was broken some 27 years ago, it shook the nation because the deep throat alleged that the commission was given by Bofors, a Swedish firm, to the then Rajiv Gandhi Government to secure the deal.

    Two years ago, the deep throat again jolted the nation by revealing his own identity—he is former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom—and accused Rajiv Gandhi of doing his best to cover up the scam, although he himself did not take bribe. I have no doubt that he was telling the truth. In contrast, see the lies by Rajiv Gandhi who had the innocent hauled over the coals to shield the bribe recipients! Why he did so was obvious. He used the middlemen to channelise the money to the party or the family he wanted to reach. That the middlemen too pocketed a part of the bribe as their commission was under-standable because they took the risk. In any case, Rajiv Gandhi had seen to it that no harm came to them.

    I think the biggest casualty in the Bofors scam was the credibility of the investigation agencies, particularly the Central Bureau of  Investigation (CBI). The Congress may be right that Rajiv Gandhi did not take any bribe. The CBI has no face to say that there cannot be a re-look at the Bofors payoffs because it was the main agency which whitewashed the scandal. This brings me to the cases of coal blocks allot-ment scandal, involving the UPA Government. Reports suggest that top CBI officials were summoned by Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar who, along with PMO officials, vetted the status report. Apparently, several amend-ments to the report were suggested and some were incorporated before it was filed in the Supreme Court.

    The three-judge Bench of the Apex Court has taken notice of the media report and has summoned a top CBI official to clarify through a sworn affidavit whether the status report had been examined by the government. The contro-versial nature of the status report has, indeed, put the CBI in a quandary. But there is no running away from the fact that the CBI is just another department of the Central Government.

    The author is a veteran journalist renowned not only in this country but also in our neighbouring states of Pakistan and Bangladesh where his columns are widely read. His website is www.kuldipnayar.com

    http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article4153.html


    Bofors was a game-changer, both for Indian politics and journalism

    Photo: The Hindu Photo LibraryPIECING THE PUZZLE: N. Ram in his office at The Hindu during the Bofors story days.

    An interview with N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu

    What is it that you learnt at Columbia that helped shape your journalism?

    I went to Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1967 and took an M.S. in Comparative Journalism, with honours, in 1968. This was a totally new experience for me — because in India, as in Britain, the conventional wisdom at that time was that journalism was not something to be 'studied' in a classroom, it was to be 'picked up' on the job.

    But Columbia changed everything for me as a 22-year-old start-up reporter. The M.S. course was demanding in terms of pace, having you on the go all the time, chasing stories through the week to tough deadlines, few breaks, then the pace and pressure became quite easy to handle. In terms of content, it was interesting enough, although some academics considered the content superficial, a 'trade school': reporting, writing, editing, a bit of radio and television journalism for me, learning something about the history of American journalism, media law and society, the First Amendment, investigative reporting, a smattering of communication theory...You also did a dissertation: mine was, believe it or not, 'Does the English language have a future in India?' My investigative reporting project was on the chequered story of 'bleeding Madras' in the United States in the 1960s: I think I titled it 'The rise and fall of an alien fabric'.

    The Columbia course emphasised values and professional and ethical principles for journalism. You see, there is a cynical way of approaching journalism. It features the hard-drinking, ruthless, unscrupulous journalist who will stop at nothing, who grins when you talk about the principles of journalism, to whom deceit, superficiality, and dilettantism are second nature, the herd mentality that is wonderfully caricatured in Evelyn Waugh's Scoop, and so on. At Columbia, certainly at the time, you were tutored, in the belief that journalism was something of a higher calling, built on values and principles and a disciplined pursuit of truth as well as of the public interest. You were taught to investigate in a factual, tough-minded way, verify everything, take nothing for granted. You were encouraged to strike a balance between practising media freedom and social responsibility. This somewhat high-minded, idealistic approach made a lasting impression on me. By the way, I am on the Board of Visitors of the Columbia J-School and am very pleased that, while a great many things have changed since 1967-68, the same, somewhat high-minded, approach endures.

    We had some splendid — wise and inspiring — teachers: for me Professors Larry Pinkham, who influenced me personally with his progressive, pro-people beliefs and approach at Columbia and whom we were able to pull out of retirement and bring to Chennai to shape the Asian College of Journalism nearly a decade ago, and Fred Friendly, a brilliant, larger-than-life comrade of Ed Murrow, the iconic television journalist, were special. I also had some talented, generous-spirited classmates, close friends with whom I have been able to keep in touch till today — Wayne Barrett, a great investigative reporter, Robin Reisig, a wonderful journalism teacher, Josh Friedman, who won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1985, I could name some others as well.

    Most important of all, 1967-68 was a great time to be at Columbia, in New York, in the United States of America. The anti-Vietnam War mass upsurge; and the 'Black Power' movement — these were heady, powerful influences, my eyes were opened, and I was radicalised — for life, I am pleased to say. For many of us, the spirit of the times, the overwhelming uplifting feeling, is captured in these lines of Wordsworth, recalling the 'commencement' of the French Revolution: Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/But to be young was very heaven! — Oh! Times… There is no need to say more, as this chapter in contemporary world history is well known.

    How difficult or challenging was the Bofors story?

    Challenging, obviously, but in an energising, 'in-the-zone' way most of the time after the first year of investigation, 1987.

    The investigation went on for more than two years and we published our Bofors stories in several instalments. The ruling party, the Congress, smelt a conspiracy, a plot, and many of its senior functionaries often reacted in a jumpy and highly insecure, if not paranoid, fashion. For us, it was decidedly a team effort, with many people, notably Chitra Subramaniam, Manoj Joshi, Malini Parthasarathy, and V.K. Ramachandran, making good, solid contributions that helped put various pieces of the puzzle together. Swedish Public Radio fired the opening shot in April 1987, alleging kickbacks and hinting at names before switching off; other newspapers, notably The Indian Express, were competing actively to get at the truth. Arun Shourie, a formidable journalist, and Ram Jethmalani, the ace criminal lawyer with his many interrogative questions hurled at Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, were in hot pursuit.

    I think what worked for us at The Hindu was a methodical approach, an investigative discipline, a way of journalism that was factual, persistent, patient — and fair and just. We relied almost exclusively on documents, more documents, hundreds of documents, in fact, all of them laid out across pages and published in facsimile form in The Hindu (in the pre-digital age). We played the devil's advocate on key story angles, verifying every detail.

    I remember one occasion when we had made a significant factual error, misconstruing something Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said in a closed meeting. We immediately published a correction, with an apology, on the front page and some people outside our newspaper believed the prominence given to the correction and apology was quite unnecessary. But we highly valued our credibility, our reputation, the trust readers placed in us. We believed in fairness and justice and scrupulously avoided throwing dirt on people against whom there was nothing like evidence (Amitabh Bachchan, famously). We did not practise anything that would be recognised as deceit in this era of hidden mikes and spy cameras. We had our own data security methods, which, surprisingly, worked. We got lucky, repeatedly, with our sources.

    Our team was bold and confident in linking pieces of evidence, in establishing factual 'concordances', in making inferences from sensitive and complex data. Thus, we were able to offer this assessment in a prominent story in The Hindu of October 9, 1989, which the Columbia J-School has chosen to highlight in its centennial '50 Great Stories' site (http://centennial.journalism.columbia.

    edu/1989-scandal-in-india/): "If the whole interaction from June 1987 between Bofors and the Government of India can be understood by the public in terms of a 'fixed' football match in which all the goals scored against India have been 'own' or 'self' goals (scored into the Indian goal by Indian boots or heads), it is now established that the Swedish official referee, Mr. Ingvar Carlsson, has been an accomplice in the 'fixing' of the game."

    At times, it seemed to be an unsolvable puzzle. After a full year's slog, we made a breakthrough in April 1988 when Chitra Subramaniam struck gold with a privileged, authoritative source (whom I met and checked out) and who never let us down. And then we were on a roll, you might say.

    I did most of the writing through our Bofors investigation, many thousands of words, but others contributed handsomely as well. We had our internal differences, which did turn dramatic in 1989, but what stands out today for me is how well everyone on our team, from the Editor down, pulled together to shape an unforgettable experience. And it was not as though this was the first or last investigative effort by our 133-year-old newspaper!

    Analytically, I have proposed in several articles, the Bofors-India kickback affair can be understood in terms of five modes of action. The first was the decision-making on the choice of howitzer. The second comprised the arrangements for the payoffs. The third was the prolonged cover-up and crisis management. The fourth was the journalistic investigation and expose. The fifth was the CBI's criminal investigation, assisted by the Swiss Federal Police and the Swiss courts, and prosecution before a Special Court for CBI cases.

    What came of it all?

    This is a legitimate question we have been asked. Some of the key accused died before the matter came up in court. Others, including Ottavio Quattrocchi, got away from the law. There was also the challenge of reconciling, or rather bridging the gap between, standards of evidence in journalism and under the Indian Evidence Act. But Bofors became a byword for top-level, political corruption, even entering the vocabulary of some Indian languages as a synonym for sleaze and skulduggery. Bofors, I believe, was a game-changer, politically and for Indian journalism. I won't say more, except that it was eminently worth it.

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/bofors-was-a-gamechanger-both-for-indian-politics-and-journalism/article3308147.ece


    Exclusive: The road to Quattrocchi!

    People like the Hinduja's have friends in all parties and many countries. Lest we forget, it was Atal Behari Vajpayee who wrote to then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao seeking closure of the Bofors case against the Hinduja brothers. And it was Srichand Hinduja who accompanied Brijesh Mishra to his meetings with British PM Tony Blair, and French PM Jacques Chirac after the nuclear tests in 1998. Vajpayee and Mishra were actively canvassing for approval of the controversial proposed Hinduja power plant at Vizagapatam. The Hinduja's first midwifed the Sukhoi-30 MKI deal during PV Narasimha Rao's days. The Russians have now become canny and have their own special Indian flunky to do the bribing and manage their share of the take as well.

    Meanwhile, let's go back to the Bofors story. When VP Singh first fell out with Rajiv Gandhi, after being shifted to the Defence Ministry, his complaint was the manner in which the HDW submarine deal was settled (another Hinduja milestone). He kept citing the cable send by the then Ambassador in Germany. When some of us told him that Bofors was bigger, he angrily remonstrated that it was a clean deal and that he had, as Finance Minister, personally gone through the file with a toothcomb and had signed the papers. It could well have been. Given the size of the deal, (then about Rs 1800 crore-then $285 million- for 410 guns), the total leakage, estimated at about Rs 60 crore was tiny. But it hit India like a thunderclap. Rajiv Gandhi was supposed to usher in a new way of doing things. His power brokers speech at Bombay in 1985 aroused great expectations (Arun Shourie even went about claiming that he had written the speech). But Bofors brought all that down crashing.

    When I came back with my story, Goenka was not too happy with it. How could he? Instead of nailing Rajiv Gandhi the finger was pointing elsewhere. The person who knew most was sitting next to him (and VP Singh) plotting taking Rajiv Gandhi down. Goenka wanted to keep beating up Rajiv Gandhi. After the conspiracy with Zail Singh to dismiss the Rajiv Gandhi government lapsed, Bofors became the stick to beat Rajiv Gandhi with. And Arun Shourie was his ever willing henchman. He had replaced his brother-in-law Suman Dubey as the Editor of The Indian Express. I know that several of the so-called Per Wendell stories in the Swedish newspaper, Expressn, actually emanated in the Editor's room in Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. But Goenka was happy that I had linked up the connection with Quattrocchi. From Quattrochi to Sonia Gandhi was an inference. To many a convenient and even obvious inference.

    The subsequent behavior of the successive governments did indicate that while there is something to hide, they were not in agreement on what to hide. The Congress kept sheltering Quattrocchi, and the BJP was more intent on shielding the Hinduja brothers. The fact is that the two roads criss-crossed, and neither the truth prevailed nor did the law take its course.

    Image: Ibn Live television grab.

    - See more at: http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2013/07/5982?page=4#sthash.KTIrvIgM.dpuf


    Bofors is back to haunt Sonia

    The Afternoon | Column | Jan 2011

    Print

    The ghost of Bofors could not have returned more unexpectedly and at a more inauspicious time for Sonia Gandhi and her son. Even had it not returned to make more trouble for the Gandhis there was trouble already in the form of whispers on Delhi's political grapevine about the family's waning charisma and the seeming inability of the Congress Party's heir apparent to show that he has the mettle and the grit to be a real leader.


    The whisperers talk of how absent he has been since the dismal results from Bihar and how his favorite ministers in Dr.Manmohan Singh's cabinet have been behaving like loose canons. People ask why Digvijay Singh should be allowed to continue his association with a book tour for a book that charges the RSSwith organizing the attack on Mumbai. The book 26/11: RSS Ki Saazish is written by a Muslim journalist who could win an award for being a spectacularly inventive conspiracy theorist. His theory is that Zionists in alliance with the CIA and the RSS organized the attack on Mumbai in November 2008 so that it would give the man excuse to invade more Muslim countries.


    Ludicrous theory


    It is a ludicrous theory and the book would have been ignored if it did not have the full support of Digvijay Singh. He has gone out of his way to tour with the author but there seems to be nobody there to stop him even though the Congress Party and the Home Minister are fully aware that the attack on Mumbai was done by Pakistani terrorists who had clear links to the ISI. So when a senior Congress leader spends his time supporting a book that absolves Pakistan from all blame it causes puzzlement and concern.


    In foggy, wintry Delhi the corridors of power buzz with their own conspiracy theories about why he is not being stopped and the theory that pervades over the others is that this is simply because he is Rahul Gandhi's friend, philosopher and guide. There are other ministers who defy the Prime Minister every chance they get and again the theory is that this is because they take their orders from 'the top'. Nobody can verify the truth of any of these theories or rumours because Rahul, like his mother, remain regally aloof from ordinary members of the Congress Party who have been considerably disheartened by the Bihar results and the general stink of corruption that hangs over the government.


    Into this atmosphere of despondency and gloom has reappeared the Bofors ghost and this time not at the behest of the opposition parties but as a result of an Income-tax appellate tribunal that has demanded that Win Chadha's son pay taxes on the illicit commissions his father made from Bofors.


    According to the tribunal, Chadha made Rs.52 crore in kickbacks and another Rs.9 crore were made by Sonia Gandhi's ex-best friend, Ottavio Quattrocchi.


    The tribunal has traced the shady companies through which the money passed and names like AE Services and Colbar have resurfaced. Arun Shourie who, as editor of The Indian Express in the eighties, conducted his own investigation into the Bofors deal pointed out last week that both the Express and The Hindu came up with these names long ago and if the CBI (Central Bureau of Intelligence) had wanted to catch anyone they could easily have.


    Instead, on instructions from 'the top' the CBI pronounced that there was no case against Quattrocchi (Chadha is dead) and as a result of this clean chit given in court Quattrocchi was able to get his money. One of the last acts of Dr.Manmohan Singh's first government was to unfreeze bank accounts in London in which some of the alleged bribe money was stashed.


    Quattrocchi's son, Massimo, when questioned about this by a television channel retorted arrogantly last week that he was only 14 years old when the Bofors scandal burst upon Rajiv Gandhi's government so he is not answerable. He added that the Bofors matter was settled long ago in the courts and should not even be talked about now but the problem is that it continues to be talked about because it was the first time that a corruption scandal involved an Indian prime minister's own family.


    No matter how much Congress Party spokesmen deny the Gandhi family's association with the Quattrocchis everyone in Delhi knows how close the friendship was. They went on holidays together, the Quattrocc his had unlimited access to the Prime Minister's house and there would have been no reason for Ottavio Quattrocchi to be paid a bribe by Bofors if he had not been able to render services on account of his close friendship with the Gandhi family.


    Trivialize the investigation


    There are those who assert that in view of the huge sums involved in more recent scandals, Bofors seems almost insignificant with its Rs.64 crore that were allegedly taken in bribes. But, the importance of Bofors remains because instead of a serious investigation into where the money went the investigative agencies of the Government of India went out of their way to blur the details and trivialize the investigation.


    So for instance, according to Shourie, the reason why Quattrocchi could not be extradited from Argentina, where he was detained as a result of an Interpol notice, was allegedly because Indian officials could not find a Spanish translator.


    The truth is that nobody ever seriously tried to bring closure to the Bofors scandal which is why its ghost continues to haunt the Gandhi family. The truth is that because the government's investigative agencies were deliberately subverted for political purposes they continue to fail in bringing crooks to book. This has led to the unfortunate conviction in the minds of ordinary Indians that all politicians are corrupt and because of this there will never be any reduction in levels of corruption in public life. In the spate of corruption scandals that we saw in the last year of 2010, the Gandhi family remained unscathed enough for Sonia Gandhi to talk loftily of our 'shrinking moral universe'. She must regret those fine words now that the ghost of Bofors is back to haunt her. She may have forgotten that the Quattrocchis were once her closest friends in Delhi but nobody else has.

    http://www.tavleensingh.com/article_detail.php?aid=275



    Curiosity? Myopia? Servility?

    May 26, 2008

    Leave a Comment

    Arun Shourie

    Sonia Gandhi endeared herself to women and the youth in Udaipur today," said a gushing TV reporter, by taking up issues close to their hearts — price rise, and unemployment." In another report of the same day, she was reported to "have taken up the issue of corruption."

    In what sense had Sonia "taken up the issue"? She reads out a sentence — I know how difficult it is for you, specially for my sisters here to make ends meet these days, prices have risen so much because of instability — and "the issue" of price rise had been "taken up." "Berozgari bahut badh gayee hai,": and the "the issue" of unemployment had, at least in the reckoning of large sections of the media been "taken up". And what, having just flagged off the campaign of Satish Sharma — indicted by the Supreme Court for having made a retail business of his ministry — did she say on corruption? That everyone wants to live a life of dignity, that we do not want to have to bend and cringe before every officer of the state: In what sense does that amount to "taking up the issue of corruption"?

    And yet that is what the press proclaimed she had done. Earlier we had been told that she had "trumped", her opponents by confronting Bofors head-on." But what had she said on Bofors? That she for one has always wanted the papers to be out at the earliest. That is "confronting the issue head-on?" Not a word about the accounts into which the money went: their particulars were published ten years ago, after all, and they were published in the teeth of denials and naked force deployed by her husband. Having told her so many things in private, did he never say anything about these accounts? Not a word about why her husband changed his statements about the matter every other week? Not a word about why he felt it necessary to suborn Parliament, to prostitute its committee? Not a word why he felt compelled to sacrifice his Prime Ministership rather than let the inquiry proceed? Sonia says she herself wants the truth to be out at the earliest: Is there is slightest shred of evidence that she did anything, that she expressed some shock, even in private, when one attempt to prevent the truth from surfacing was nailed? The way the offer of Bofors to reveal the names to the JPC was squashed by Rajiv, the way a foreign minister of a Congress government was caught surreptitiously delivering a letter to the foreign minister of Switzerland stating that the Government of India did not want the inquiry to continue…? Is there even one occasion on which Sonia took the slightest step to help the truth come out? But today, her saying, "I myself want the truth to come out at the earliest" is projected to be "confronting the Bofors issue head-on."

    "Sonia apologises for (operation) Blue-star" – this, when all she had said was that those things should not have happened." That a statement such as that should be taken to be an apology, and that an apology should be deemed to be enough what is one to infer from this?

    This is just the way the media functions these days, explains my friend. And in part, he is right. Sonia is new, so Sonia is news. However, there is a problem, the newspapers and TV channels see. And there is the predictable solution: Sonia is the lead-story for now; but she is uttering only inanities; as you have to report those inanities nonetheless, read into the new inanity, the inanity of the day some superlative significance, and, presto, her speech is news. But in doing that the press and TV are creating news. Fabricating something out of nothing.

    But is that — the nature of news — all? I sense an affinity. For the press itself "deals -with" issues at no deeper level than Sonia is doing. So it does not see the utter hollowness of her speeches. And there is gratitude. The secularists in the media were completely befuddled, what With the crumbling of each one of their "pillars of secularism" — Mulayam Singh, Kanshi Ram, Laloo, the Untied Front itself. She has given them ground for hope. And who can complain: Is not Castro himself turning to the Pope?

    But the matter is not confined to reporters: Very large numbers are turning up at her meetings, after all. Newspaper accounts of some of the meetings have reported that people in the audience could be seen to be wiping tears from their eyes. Is it that they too feel that in reading out those inanities she has actually "taken up" the issue of price rise, of unemployment, of corruption? I don't want to be too despondent about the people — at least, as Sonia would say, "for now"! After all, it is the same people who by their silence, their nonchalance, by what they must have led her intelligence agencies to believe, it is the same people who fooled Mrs Gandhi into announcing elections in January 1977; it is the same sort of people in Pakistan who led so many newsmen — specially foreign newsmen — to believe that Imran Khan had as good as swept the country. But the very fact that such vast numbers are flocking to her meetings is enough ground for apprehension. Why do they travel distances, and wait an hour or two to see and hear her?

    Because she is a new face? Because she is the latest non-politician? Because she is foreign-born? Of course, if the last, that would not be enough by itself — they wouldn't flock the same way to see an African or Burmese, so to the extent that it is the exotica of being foreign, it is the old racial inferiority complex vis-�-vis the white skin. But still, in what sense do they get to see the whiteness? In a crowd of a lakh, a dot seen far away — for ten-fifteen minutes? What sort of curiosity is it which is satiated by a glimpse of that kind? Could it be that these thousands too feel that she has addressed the issue?" Do they feel, "God be thanked, she has heard our sighs, she has spared a thought for our pain." and that no more can be expected of Royalty? After all, it can't be that as a result of what she said at any meeting, they got to know what she or the party she controls will do on any matter she "addressed."

    In spite of the scores of meetings she has addressed, no one anywhere in the country is any the wiser about her views on any issue. She remains at the end of the campaign what she was at the beginning — the one entity about which even less is known than about the Swiss accounts into which the Bofors money went.

    What she has done is to reveal three things. First, that the Congress is nothing, it is certainly nothing to her. Ever heard any other Congress leader speak in her presence, ever seen anyone of them even try to approach her on the dais? Ever seen anyone — in particular any other Congressman — attach any importance to what other Congress leaders have or are saying, when she is at the meeting? Should the party do well, should it form a government, she will be the government, and she alone — the others will be no more than doormats. And public life will consist of second-guessing the office. Priyanka has agreed to take over, whether she is to be dreaded or her husband, whether Rahul will save us from her husband, or Rahul's prospective bride will save us from Rahul… Is that really the condition to which the country will consciously consign itself?

    The second set she has shown up are the old, scheming little calculators — V P Singh and the rest. They are astir again. Has he gone honkers?, a friend asked, as he read V P Singh's statement exempting Sonia from having to answer any question about Bofors. Not at all. He was as usual, preparing rationalisations for the next manoeuvre, the grounds for teaming up with the Congress after the elections. Anticipatory calculation, not senility.

    Nor is he alone. I am willing, Jyoti Basu keeps saying. we will look at the issue of associating with the Congress afresh. he says. And people who have formed such a high opinion of him are embarrassed that he should be announcing his availability so brazenly. He can be expecting that his Left Front — with a minuscule number in the last Lok Sabha — can get the numbers to form a government, why is he behaving this way? they ask. Calculation, again: May be the House will be hung again, some theoreticians will be reasoning, may be the Congress will need the Left MPs to make up the numbers may be she will not mind putting our man in office, after all he is not going to be in anyone's way for long…

    How comfortable a Laloo having to shield a Rana — is certain to feel behind her having a Quattrocchi to shield. And correspondingly, what advantages they will bring to her: With Laloo, Mulayam and Kanshi Ram to direct their certificates to her, she will have the halo, not just of keeping alight the torch of martyrdom, but also of being the continuer of the commitment to the forces of social justice. And won't they shepherd into her corral the mediamen who have invested so much in these pillars of secularism — a transferable herd if ever there was one.

    And the intellectuals. Today papers carry a statement that asks people to vote for the one candidate in their constituency who has the best chance of defeating the BJP candidate. And to help them do so, the signatories say they will be releasing a list of five hundred of the most "winnable" candidates for the purpose. Though little else, the statement did show two things. First, that the ranks of these Casablancas are much depleted: Apart from four professional secularists, there was not a name worth any attention. Second, the statement was released by none other than Syed Shahabuddin! He — the very one who has played communal politics as cynically as anyone in the past fifty years — he is to certify which is the candidate secular enough to be preferred to any and every BJP candidate! Some pass the poor secularists have come. But for the moment the point is the future: This is the very rationalisation which shall be used to legitimise any and every combination should the BJP fall short of a clear verdict in its favour.

    Third, Sonia has shown the power of an advertising campaign to sway — at the least the media. That she should not address any issue. That she should just hit and run to the next meeting. That she must not ever put herself in a situation in which she may have to spell out her convictions, even her view on any issue… Even the time at which to enter the fray: As she has nothing to say, we can be certain that, given four or five months, she will be relegated to the inside pages; hence, do not display her for more than a few weeks.

    There is, of course, the Italian precedent: of thrice refusing the crown – she waited till the Congress had completely subsided, she then had just to walk over it and it was her's. But it isn't just the Roman example, it is the advertiser's hand. In the short exposure. In seem, the potential of a new face, the way a new face is used to sell soap: She is positioned as the heir of the "Nehru-Gandhi" legacy, but she is a new face — so she is distanced from the ghastly bits in the legacy. Thus, she can talk of continuing the work of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv, and simultaneously go on apologising for what they did! An advertiser's triumph.

    But the point is that not one of the persons who are being mentioned in the press as the ones behind her moves, not one of them has the wit to plan such stratagems. Who are her advisers, who are planning her moves?

    And that leaves me fearful for the future: Are the people going to hand the country — its defence, the location of missiles, the positioning of our troops and planes, the details of our atomic programme, decisions about fighting terrorism and secession — in the hands of a person about whom they know absolutely nothing? In the hands of person whose advisors, themselves concealed, have themselves concluded that, to capture the country, nothing about her should become known?

    For make no mistake about that: She has demonstrated that she is the Congress, that the Congress is nothing but her. And so, to vote the Congress to power is to place power in her hands — that would remain the case even if she were to put some stepney in office for a while.

    Asian Age

    February 13, 1998

    http://arunshourie.wordpress.com/category/bofors/page/2/


    Acid Dreams On Dharma Nights

    Arun Shourie was once a shining sabre in defence of democracy. As he invites the RSS to take over the BJP, SHOMA CHAUDHURY tracks how far he has moved

    A COUPLE OF weeks ago, in the middle of its extremely public meltdown and equally public family drama, the BJP suddenly sacked Jaswant Singh for reevaluating Jinnah. It was a desperate measure cut for desperate times and came wrapped with many wishful intentions: the desire for a distraction; the desire to declare renewed certitudes; the desire for a simple show of strength. And, briefly, despite the loud criticism in the media, it did look as if the BJP had closed ranks.

    SHOURIE OCCUPIES A COMPLICATED SPACE IN MIDDLE-CLASS MINDS. HE IS FASCIST, A LIBERAL KNIGHT AND A RIGHTEOUS CRUSADER

    But just when Singh was starting to look particularly forlorn, Rajya Sabha member and party elder, Arun Shourie came out with his devastating interview to Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta. He criticised LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley — some of them friends more than merely political associates — and defended Jasw - ant Singh's right to have contrarian views and write a book. He lashed out at the "great pygmyisation" of leadership. And his scathing metaphor of the BJP as a "kati patang" (an adrift kite) and its leaders as "Alice in Blunderland" and wannabe Tarzans is bound to sizzle in popular memory for a while. This seemed vintage Arun Shourie: the fearless crusader exhilaratingly speaking truth to power, defending liberal values, daring the party to sack him for it.

    *

    The Gospel Shourie, in emphatic mid-argument

    Photo: REUTERS

    Yet, in the same interview, Shourie invited the RSS to seize overt control of the party and casually, almost indifferently, flicked away the butchery of Muslims in Gujarat 2002. He spoke at great length about Prime Minister Vajpayee's anguish and dilemma over Gujarat and concluded, "Frankly, I must say, I was more affected by Atalji's pain than by what had happened in Gujarat. Maybe this is my inhumanity or something. I can't claim that I was that great liberal…" No matter which end of the political divide you stand on, it would be difficult to find a more chilling reaction to one of the most savage events in India's recent history. This is not just defence or denial or prevarication, it is dismissal. Cool, indifferent, unapologetic. And completely self-assured.

    It would have been easy to dismiss Arun Shourie in turn — coolly, unapologetically — if he was merely an extreme right ideologue, a sort of Praveen Togadia sophisticate. But Shourie occupies a much more complicated space in middle-class imagination. He is the editor par excellence of the 70s and 80s, the shining sabre who stood up to the Emergency, exposed Bofors and famously had chief minister Antulay sacked. He is the legendary defender of human rights who campaigned for 40,000 undertrials languishing in jail. And he is a man of unquestionable financial honesty. When he adopts the high moral ground --- or his preferred voice of white heat outrage --- people tend to listen. Even the fractious BJP was checkmated by his interview. It's not just Shourie's deft timing or evocation of the RSS that protected him; his public reputation was a shield too. Sacking him, the BJP knew, would be a colossal PR disaster; they understand the immunities of the holy cow.

    HE WAS SACKED TWICE BUT SHOURIE'S YEARS AS AN EDITOR SHONE WITH INSPIRATION: HE WAS A LIGHTHOUSE IN A DARK TIME

    This adumbral position between liberal knight, self-righteous crusader and unselfconscious fascist makes Arun Shourie a very ambiguous, even sinister, presence in India's public life. As Prabhas Joshi, Jansatta editor and a peer, says, "His suggestion to the RSS betrays the quintessential Shou rie. He wants a democratic political party like the BJP to be chained lock, stock and barrel by an organisation that calls itself "cultural" and does not believe in parliamentary democracy or the Indian Constitution. And he wants this democratic party to be taken over by jhatka (sudden death)! Who would want such a thing? Only an autocratic, dictatorial mind. Arun Shourie is a timeserver and climber who wants to dictate whatever he considers intellectually superior into the democratic polity of this country. Any man who does not believe in democracy and is in politics is a very dangerous animal. Be very afraid of him."

    In his interview, Shourie had bracketed his invitation to the RSS with a caveat. To paraphrase, he said, "I have asked them to 'bomb the headquarters' and be ethical guardians of the party but stay away from policy." Even to the most novice citizen, this would seem, at best, a naïve hope, at worst, a cynical smokescreen. The smart parry of a tactician, not a considered intellectual position. Later at his residence, Shourie says, "Don't believe a word of what Mohan Bhagwat (RSS chief) said at his press conference. Even at this moment, they are deciding who will go and who will stay and who will head the party. You will see the impact of all this in a few months."

    Such schisms in Shourie's public positions go back a long way, but what makes it particularly fascinating is the combination of utter transparency and unassailable certitude that go with the schisms. The address of a website that compiles his writings contains the phrase "the voice of dharma." It's an accurate self-description: that is how Shourie sees himself. As an old associate puts it, "He wants to clean up the system, that's the platform he works on, but he doesn't want to clean up himself. He doesn't believe in looking within. He started his political career as a Maoist, became a Gandhian during the Emergency, then briefly, a non-Gandhian Congress supporter and then joined the BJP. Yet he is authentic in every incarnation. He thinks there is no contradiction within him."

    In a line, Shourie is that disquieting being: a public intellectual who is completely anti-introspective.

    SHOURIE'S PEERS SAY HE WAS ABUSIVE AND INTOLERANT. HE FACES A MORE DAMAGING CHARGE: INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY

    An impostor at the pulpit.

    A RUN SHOURIE, now 69, had an almost cinematic entry into the public eye. It was 1977; the Emergency was at its height. Shourie had written a series of courageous articles, among them, one called 'The Symptoms of Fascism'. Though Seminarcould not publish that edition, the article was doing the rounds in secret. Shourie had a PhD in Economics from Syracuse University and was just back from the World Bank. The buzz around the article and a series of "happy accidents", as he likes to call it, brought him in touch with the feisty newspaper proprietor Ramnath Goenka.

    *

    Adversaries Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, who Shourie fought relentlessly

    Photo: AP

    He joined the Indian Express as Executive Editor in January 1979 and over four blistering years of journalism, passed into media legend. Shourie rarely did the groundwork himself; his gift lay in creating moral frameworks and meticulous backgrounds – building stories into campaigns. The infamous Bhagalpur blinding case; the advocacy for the rights of undertrials; the buying of Kamala; the Antulay cement scam; the infamous Gundu Rao interview; the defeat of the Defamation Bill; and finally, the Kuo Oil scam. The Congress had come to symbolise corruption and anti-democratic practices: The Indian Express — and its most public face, the Goenka- Shourie duo — became the epitome of the fight against these mutilations. In 1982, with hundreds of cases against the paper, and allegedly under severe pressure from Mrs Gandhi, Goenka suddenly sacked Shourie. In 1987, with all his old warhorses gone or fading, he suddenly wanted him back and used Suman Dubey, Shourie's brother-in-law, then editor of the paper and a friend of Rajiv Gandhi, to woo him back. A few months later, the Bofors scandal broke. More actinic years of journalism followed: the Bofors campaign and the campaign against Dhirubhai Ambani's corruptions being the most high-profile. In 1990, Shourie was sacked again – unceremoniously, via teleprinter. There were cascading reasons: disagreements on reservations, the Mandal Commission, VP Singh's handling of the Ayodhya movement and Goenka's sense that Shourie was no longer in his control.

    At any rate, Shourie's years as an editor shone with inspiration: he was a lighthouse in a dark time. As his Magasaysay Award citation says, "He used his pen as an effective adversary of corruption, inequality and injustice." He fought for civil liberties and the rule of law; he had an appetite for the big battles. Yet, even at the height of his defence of liberal values in public life, disappointingly, Shourie's professional peers and juniors say that in person, he was an intolerant, abusive and dictatorial man, incapable of democratic dialogue. The archetypal god with clay feet. Stories — unfortunately all of them off-the-record — abound: how he fought and slighted co-editors, S Mulgaonkar, BG Verghese, Nihal Singh, Kuldip Nayar; how he ousted Suman Dubey; how he ravaged juniors. The ill-will is disconcerting. Yet, urged to come on record, all his detractors refuse: "He's dynamite"; "He's vicious"; "He's paranoid." These allegations can perhaps be discounted – temperamental shortcomings that pale before the staggering body of work. Personal animosities that cannot be substantiated.

    GONE WAS THE FOUNDER-MEMBER OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP PUCL. SHOURIE NOW ENDORSED TADA, POTA AND MUCH MORE

    But there is a more universal and damaging charge Shourie faces: intellectual dishonesty. His political peers in the BJP sneer at his high moral posture. It is not elevated concern for Jaswant Singh's right to write that triggered his outburst, they allege, it is pique against Advani for picking Arun Jaitley over him as Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Narendra Modi for denying him a ticket for his next Rajya Sabha term: petty motives behind the lofty stance. Yet others mock his certitudes. Why doesn't he enter the trenches, get his hands dirty, and win an election before he lectures us all on probity? Why invite the RSS to takeover the party, say others, when he, protective of his brand value, has always been careful to distance himself officially from them, no matter how congruent their views? (Lalit Vachani's 1992 documentary Boy in a Branch has a cameo of Shourie raising a saffron flag and speaking at an RSS gathering. He thanks them for inviting him to such a "pure place" and asserts they must achieve the aims of the Ayodhya movement.)

    There are other stickier instances. On July 7, 2003, at the first Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial Lecture — an event addressed by President Kalam and attended by everyone ranging from Manmohan Singh to Narendra Modi — Shourie confessed to a "180 degree turn" on Ambani. For five years, as Indian Express editor, he and S Gurumurthy, an accountantturned- Goenka-confidante and an RSS man, had scorched Ambani for his corruptions. It wasn't merely that Dhirubhai Ambani had imported an entire textile plant without paying customs, or that he was producing more than his permit, they tracked how the government was favouring him; how he owned shell companies; how he had both banks and politicians in his pocket; how, in short; he was subverting society.

    *

    Storming History Hindu rage, Shourie says, is inevitable if the State appeases minorities

    Photo: AP

    At the lecture though, Shourie sloughed off all those years of platinum outrage with cynical ease. As Disinvestment Minister in the Vajpayee government, he had already sold controlling shares of the giant government-controlled petrochemical company, IPCL to the Ambanis — creating a massive private monopoly. (Journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta argues that this itself was an intellectual dishonesty, coming from a man who had championed fair and free markets all his life.) Now at the lecture, taking refuge in economist Frederick Hayek's argument that when rules ossify and become outdated, society starts violating those rules until conditions evolve where new rules come into play, Shourie claimed he had come to revise his view of the Ambanis.

    "Most would say today that those restrictions and conditions should not have been there in the first place," he told the glittering audience, "that they are what held the country back. And that the Dhirubhais are to be thanked, not once but twice over: they set up world-class companies and facilities in spite of those regulations, and thus laid the foundations for the growth all of us claim credit for today...

    'NOT AN EYE FOR AN EYE. FOR AN EYE, BOTH EYES. NOT A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH. FOR A TOOTH, THE WHOLE JAW,' SAYS SHOURIE

    "Second," said he, "by exceeding the limits in which those restrictions sought to impound them, they helped create the case for scrapping those regulations, they helped make the case for reforms."

    It is true everyone has the right to revise their views and Dhirubhai's entrepreneurship dazzled even greater men, but challenge Shourie about the other and continuing Ambani corruptions he had documented at the Express, and he says, "I was merely the editor, it's Gurumurthy who wrote those stories. I did think they were brilliant and excavatory then."

    (In an uncharacteristic and revealing moment of self-irony though, he confesses his friend Gurumurthy had once challenged him: "If Hayek is right, everyone can become a violator and say they are breaking laws for a better future. Who will judge which laws should be broken?" Shourie says only half-laughingly, "I told him, I'll be the judge of that.")

    Congress politician and Shourie's college mate in St. Stephen's, Mani Shankar Aiyar remembers a different Shourie. A hockey player, a teachers' pet, an animated young man who fought fierce arguments in defence of Nehru and cooperatives. "Where has that Arun Shourie of Rudra Court (a St. Stephen's residence) gone? It is a great loss to our national life," says he, "that instead of a great Nehruvian flowering, this intelligent man transmogrified into a fanatic Hindu right-winger. I think the leavening of a liberal education at Stephen's was undermined by his four years at the fourth-rate Syracuse University during the worst years of the Cold War. This is what first moved him towards the Right, and from there to the usual positions of nationhood and Hindutva. Today, Shourie is just a 1920s Arya Samaji disguised as a BJP MP of the 21st century."

    Many before Shourie have made political and intellectual journeys a pendulum away from where they began. That, in itself, cannot be an indictment. Rather, what makes Shourie especially disturbing is the comet's tail: the incandescent zeal and certitude he carries around like a transferrable ticket for whichever new station he's headed. As historian Ramachandra Guha puts it, "Much of the time Shourie writes or acts as if there is a singular truth, with him as its only repository and guarantor."

    In another sticky instance of intellectual dishonesty, after the Mumbai 26/11 attack Shourie spoke with messianic passion in Parliament for a harder, more unforgiving State. Gone was the sensitive constitutionalist. Gone was the foundermember of Jayaprakash Nar ayan's human rights group, the PUCL. Gone was the man who had crusaded for victims of false encounters and the blinded undertrials of Bhagalpur. (He had written then, "If the criminal justice system breaks down, your eyes and mine are not safe.") Shourie had already, long years earlier, moved away from his commitment to human rights to an endorsement of TADA, POTA and the use of unquestioned State force to quell internal insurgencies: the KPS Gill position. Now, in Parliament, he argued with even greater fervour for dismantling the human rights movement and "unnecessary" legalism around terror suspects (never mind if innocents suffered in the process). As for Pakistan, nobody, he said, had ever won a war with minimal force. India's response to Pakistan should be, "Not an eye for an eye. For an eye, both eyes. Not a tooth for a tooth. For a tooth, the whole jaw." And for good measure, stoke some trouble in Balochistan.

    SHOURIE'S SON IS PARAPLEGIC. HE SAYS HIS BOOKS ON RELIGION WERE A 'SCREAM AGAINST RELIGIOUS EXPLANATIONS FOR SUFFERING'

    Curiously, even as he has moved away with greater and greater scorn from liberal positions, Shourie has consistently sustained his fascination for liberal institutions: Democracy, Parliament, Judiciary, Constitution. Yet, propelled by a sense of his own infallible integrity, beneath this regard for the State and its institutions, a deeper more dangerous self-image seems to run through Shourie's public conduct: the idea of Christ whipping the usurers; Mohammad urging righteous war; Krishna urging Arjuna into the fatricidal fields of Kurukshetra.

    The voice of Dharma. Justified violence. Coupled with a burning sense of samaj seva.

    *

    Reprisal The savagery of Gujarat 2002 left Shourie unmoved. He supported Modi

    WHEN YOU first meet Shourie, it is difficult to square with the discordant orchestral sound that surrounds his public life. He is mild and affable and surprisingly open to conversation. There is also a kind of silence in his spacious Westend home. There is the famous low, whispering voice, the bushy brows, the intelligent eyes, the sophisticated manner. But there is also a tight, fragile, held-in quality — a sense of him constantly steeling himself against the onslaught of life. Shourie's wife Anita (a great love and another "happy accident" in his life) suffers from Parkinson's; their son Vikramaditya, now 37, was born prematurely, is severely paraplegic and has had multiple disabilities from birth. Shourie's parents died within months of each other; his mother suffered immensely before she passed away. Shourie nursed them all, yet bears this unkind history with extraordinary compassion. Minutes into the conversation, his son is wheeled in. Shourie leaps up and kisses him with unaffected tenderness. "This is our son Adit," he says with moving pride.

    Shourie has written several scathing books on religion, most notoriously on Islam and Christianity, but what is lesser known, also on Hindusim. He once told philosopher Martha Nussbaum that these books were "a scream against the explanations given for suffering" in the Hindu scriptures, Koran and Old and New Testaments. He says now, "Our son's suffering was the newspeg for my pre-occupation with religion. But everything I found was soporific, so I finally gravitated towards Buddha who said there is no explanation for suffering, but as the nature of our response compounds our suffering, he could help deal with the response." Since then, Shourie has maintained a strict regimen of yoga and meditation, and in weaker moments, sessions with astrology. Friends say he never makes a show of his duty and is unfailingly solicitous of his wife and son. (It is difficult to fathom, but perhaps the vicissitudes of his private life have unconsciously played some part in his growing and callous impatience with public grief.)

    But Buddha is only one part of the complex cocktail of inspirations in Shourie's life. There was his father HD Shourie, a magistrate in pre-partition Lahore, and later the editor of Common Cause, a pioneering consumer issues journal and litigant that fought many landmark cases for people's rights, most famously, old people's pension. There is Gandhi, Nehru and JP — none of whose vision Shourie now shares, but men he still considers giants because they "had no price", were constantly dialogic and lived with immense personal integrity, an attribute he values highly in himself. At the other end of the spectrum — and part of the contradictions within him that he is blind to — there is Hindu thinker Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel, men Shourie calls "deep and courageous thinkers", who were highly critical of Islam and Christianity.

    PERHAPS THE KEY TO SHOURIE'S CHARACTER — BOTH HIS BIGOTRY AND PERSONAL INTEGRITY — LIES IN HIS ARYA SAMAJI IDENTITY

    Swarup, in fact, seems to have been a big catalyst. In 1984, when Shourie was deeply shaken by the anti-Sikh riots, Swarup told him, "If the State neglects its primary duties and fails to act firmly, there is bound to be a reaction in society. The violence against the Sikhs was induced by the Congress; but because of their suppressed grievances, the Hindus appropriated that violence."

    Shourie says the Congress' handling of Shah Bano and Bhindranwale set him on his journey towards rightwing political positions. But it is Swarup who seems to have set him on the hackneyed track of Hindutva justifications: the logic of grievance and victimhood as explanations for retaliatory violence. So, today, Shourie might condemn the vandalism at the Mangalore pub; but the murder of Swami Laxmanananda explains the arson in Kandhamal; and the burning of the Sabarmati, the pogrom in Gujarat. Why not insist doggedly that the State punish the guilty? Why condone collateral violence? "That is how society reacts," he shrugs. (So what if his idol Gandhi called off the Non-Cooperation Movement because 22 policemen were killed in Chauri Chaura? Shourie has shifting definitions of personal integrity.)

    Ask him how he can be unmoved by what happened in Gujarat, and he answers, "I am moved by what happens to individuals, what happens to my son. I don't care if hundreds of people die somewhere. They die in earthquakes as well." Shocked, I ask, "Why react so strongly to terror attacks then? "Because that is an assault on the State," he replies, without a moment's hesitation. (Set aside obvious humanist values. One could argue that killing hundreds of innocent citizens — be they Muslim, Christian or Hindu — is an assault on the State too, when the State has promised the Right to Life to all citizens. But you sense that for Shourie, it's a closed argument.)

    *

    To Ashes Christians outside their burnt down church in Orissa's Kandhamal district

    Photo: SHAILENDRA PANDEY

    Ask him why he abandoned the PUCL—and the whole raft of human rights concerns — and he has an equally self-assured reply. "I broke with the PUCL when it began to raise human rights issues in Punjab and for the Naxals. If a State is open and democratic like ours, the monopoly for violence can only lie with the State," says he. "You can fight its misuse but the fight must be unarmed. There can be no justification for armed insurrection in a democracy. Only a dictatorship justifies armed rebellions." A vast sea of grey laps before his arguments, but Shourie is a man who only sees the world in hard grids of black and white.

    WHAT COMPLICATES simple denunciations of Arun Shourie, however, is that, unlike many contemporary writers and intellectuals, he has dared to leave the ivory tower and take on the big questions of our time, bare-knuckled. He has put himself in the firing line and been willing to be skewered for his views in public. What also complicates the denunciations is not just his intelligence or the sterling journalistic career; it is his massive body of work as a writer.

    Shourie has written 21 books. Their style may be tedious and prolix, but they are still erudite and staggeringly meticulous. What's more, many of them are lightning rods that prise open difficult and new areas of thought, areas earlier generations have papered over. Yet, they stop short of shedding new light because Shourie merely marshals facts with a sort of rising and hysterical indignation. He is not exploratory; like some zealous lawyer, he fits evidence to a preconceived thesis. He seems incapable of interpretation – the key attribute of a thinker. And when he does think, the arguments are narrow and bigoted. (Except his arguments for an alternative affirmative action in place of reservations and a truly secular nation where all citizens will be identified merely as individuals and have equal access to the State.)

    Shourie's book on Ambedkar, Worshipping False Gods for instance, documents Ambedkar's visceral opposition to Gandhi. It is important we recognise this animosity between two giants, but instead of presenting the complex and competing concerns of dalits and upper-caste Hindu nationalists, Shourie merely rants at Ambedkar for hating Gandhi and supporting the British. (Never mind that the RSS did much the same, or that Gandhi himself praised Ambedkar and recognised his legitimate political compulsions.) Similarly, Shourie's books on Islam and Christianity document how closed the Judaic religions are to reform, but instead of framing that as an invitation or challenge for cultural dialogue, contrary to evidence, he constructs it as a danger to Indian nationhood. Ditto for his work on the destruction of temples in medieval India. Or for his demolition job on Left historians. It is true that Left historians cornered State patronage and wrote histories that suited their theses. But if Shourie objected to the ICHR being colonised by the Left, why didn't he speak out against it being captured by the Right under the BJP?

    Momentarily cornered, he laughs wickedly, "Where is the question of the Right wing dominating history writing. The Left has had a headstart of 50 years. But if you really want a justification for that, I'll have to quote Chairman Mao: 'Sometimes, to correct a great wrong you have to cross proper limits.' Besides, all call to reform is a kind of incitement."

    Perhaps the real key to Shourie's complex character then — his high sense of personal integrity, his austere dislike for high living, his capacity for unexamined bigotry, his driving sense of simple Good and Evil, and his zeal for public service and reform — lies in his Arya Samaji background. It would explain both the reflexive distrust of Islam and Christianity and the simultaneous imitation of everything that is disliked in those religions. It would explain the passion for a muscular State, latched closely with the selfarrogated voice of dharma.

    "We live in an oceanic society," Shourie says, as a kind of epilogue to our conversation. The irony is that when he could have been one its most consummate cartographers, he has increasingly insisted on swimming in its shallowest pools. Yet, the truth is, no one can easily dismiss Arun Shourie, because for 30-odd years, he has sought answers to all the big public riddles of governance, efficiency, probity, equality, and cultural coexistence. The tragedy of his dwarfed intellectual positions then is a sort of tragedy of contemporary Indian public life. Unlike the founding fathers who clung to the altar of complex arguments and public discourse, faced with the enormousness and bewildering amplitude of Indian dilemmas, public intellectuals today inevitably reach for the quick-gun answers on either side of the Left-Right divide. At other times, they merely capitulate.

    In the days to come, the real implication of Shourie's interview to Shekhar Gupta could play itself out in two different ways. On the one hand, it could expose itself merely as yet another cynical political game. On the other, in its intrepid defence of the freedom of expression, it could start to redeem some of the promise he showed in the 70s. The pity is, one hopes for the latter but is more likely to bet on the former.

    WRITER'S EMAIL

    shoma@tehelka.com

    http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main42.asp?filename=Ne120909acid_dreams.asp


    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Demand for a JPC into 2G is not right. There was a JPC on Bofors, what happened? ARUN SHOURIE

    Demand for a JPC into 2G is not right. There was a JPC on Bofors, what happened?


    ARUN SHOURIE BJP leader and former telecom minister


    Source: Indian Express


    In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24x7 with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, Arun Shourie, telecom minister in the NDA government, takes on A Raja for saying he was only following the first-come-first-served policy of granting licences that was laid down by his predecessors ALL OF us wish that the Prime Minister would exercise his authority more.



    Otherwise what is happening is what happened in Raja's case, that under the umbrella of the Prime Minister's good name, all this dacoity was going on. It is not a service to the country for a good person to be merely a good person in his own right




    My guest this week is somebody who I say with great pride that I followed in the footsteps of, Mr Arun Shourie. But it seems that you are in tricky company because A Raja also says that he followed in your footsteps as telecom minister.


    This kind of nonsense that (Raja) was peddling--that he was only continuing the principles and procedures that we had laid down-this has certainly not washed with the Prime Minister.


    Or with the CBI or CAG.


    It is also very curious that on the one hand you force him to resign, saying he has done wrong. On the other, you say he is only following procedures. But I have faith that if the media is strong, the courts are strong, one way or the other the truth will come out, as it has come out in this case.


    What is the truth in this case?


    Was he following in your footsteps or not? And what were your footsteps?


    I will give you one instance. He says I followed the first-come-firstserved procedure and he did the same thing and the media is saying the same thing. The fact of the matter is that he did not follow the first-come-first-served method. All this controversy relates to Sep tember-October 2007. In August 2007, there were 167 applications lying in the telecom department and he was not allowing them to be processed, saying the spectrum is short. And then suddenly, he contacts the real estate companies that he was dealing with while he was in the environment ministry (he was environment minister in UPA-I) and tells them, `We are opening shop here. You come and take licences.' They apply. Suddenly he now has spectrum. He announces he will give licence on first-come-first-served basis by the date and time of application re ceived--by October 1, 2007. Ap plications come. Suddenly he says no. I will have the cut-off date not on October 1 but September 25. So everybody who applies in be tween is cut out, without any rea son, without any scrutiny. This is what (D S) Mathur, the secretary, objected to. Then he suddenly changed the basis of first-come first-served. First it was time and date of application. Then he says the time and date at which the con ditions specified in the letter of intent will be fulfilled. This is changed, and one of the condi tions is, as the CAG says, in 41 minutes, bring banker's drafts. It's a press note issued at 2.45 p.m. that by 3.30 p.m., bring a banker's draft of Rs 1,650 crore.


    I must say Indian banking system has become very efficient! Electronic. Not only that. It so happens that some firms already have the banker's drafts precisely for that time and it is dated well before the change of conditions that was announced. And the representatives of two of the firms are sitting in the office of Raja's personal assistant. They are not at the central registry where these are to be given. So, suddenly these licences are given. Even this change is not notified till January 2008. All this is happening in October. Then there are conditions which are laid down. Now the CAG has found that of the 122 licences that were given, in the case of 85 licences, those companies did not fulfill the conditions that had been laid down--that is first come, first served. Not only that, it then happened that (Raja) still did not get the type of spectrum allocated to Swan, which he wanted to do, which is one of the favoured companies. So he changes the priority list into lucrative circles--Punjab and Maharashtra--that is first come, first served. One change after the other so as to steer the licences entirely to the companies he was favouring.


    Do you get a sense that the CBI knows exactly what has happened?


    I have no doubt about it because in some cases the very officers who were handling the material, who were handling these manipulations, have testified to the CBI.


    That is to my personal knowledge, because the officers have told me what they have told the CBI. And if I may so, I have conveyed this even before, from the CBI to the higher persons in the gov ernment. Nothing happened.


    This govern ment?


    The UPA govern ment. The CBI, therefore, knows to such an extent that the officer sir, these compa has said, `Yes sir, these companies' representatives would bring the note which he should sign on a pen drive. It would be put into my computer, a print taken and Raja would sign it.' This detail the CBI knows. CBI knows the identity of the front companies that were used.


    The front companies were used to get licences or transfer bribes?


    Licences, of course, are well known.


    And front companies for money transactions?


    Yes, transactions.


    Bribe transactions?


    I would have no doubt otherwise; you are not doing charity here.


    The CBI knows the identity of the critical person who handled the money and it is a mystery to the other officers as to why that particular officer has not been questioned to this day.


    He has still not been questioned?


    He has still not been questioned.


    And if they talk to him now, he might tell them the truth?


    I think so. These people are quite ambitious themselves. They just don't do things for their masters.


    The CBI's thing is that we have to take the government's permission because he is of such and such rank. But what is the problem?


    You go and take the permission and if the government refuses, then that itself will prove the point.


    So would you think that if CBI were to ask for permission to go and prosecute this particular officer or officers of that rank, the government wouldn't even dare to deny them permission?


    I don't think so. I don't think it's a question of daring. I think now it's a question of slight anger also.


    The government is angry?


    I think so. I will tell you why.


    What happened was there were fisticuffs in Sanchar Bhavan, because these applications had to be given to the Central Registry. To keep the others from giving the applications, musclemen were employed and they were beaten up and there was a lot of scuffle. That very day, the Prime Minister writes to Raja, saying adopt these proce dures and so on and in the end he says, `please examine the question of auctioning the spectrum and determining its price in a fair and transparent manner'.


    The Prime Minister himself writes to him?


    Yes, he himself writes to him. And what does Raja do? In a letter drafted by a person whom the CBI knows about--Raja can't draft that letter--Raja then implicates Pranab Mukherjee in the thing that `I have kept honourable senior minister Pranab Mukherjee fully informed'. So naturally Mr Pranab Mukherjee would have been incensed.


    But Mr Pranab Mukherjee is not a fool. He is a very competent minister.


    Absolutely. He is the keystone of not just the government today but of the whole political structure.


    Absolutely. He has got goodwill across all sides and respect.


    (He is) a very seasoned and mature person and he would not be condoning any of this nonsense.


    The second thing that happens is that in the affidavit which was filed by the department of telecom in Raja's defence, it's not Pranab Mukherjee but the Prime Minister who has been implicated. It says, `I kept the Prime Minister informed of all this.' But this is an amazing government that a ministry can file an affidavit in such a controversial case implicating the Prime Minister?


    I am actually astonished, because there is a thing called the transaction of business rules. It provides that if there is a matter which involves different ministries, then you must consult them. Secondly, if there is a disagreement, then collective deliberation must be exercised and the decision will be taken by the Cabinet or by the group of ministers as authorised.


    In this case, it was a matter of great controversy, not just the affidavit, but even on the auctioning, nonauctioning of spectrum, methods of allocation of licences and to his great credit, Chidambaram as Finance Minister repeatedly insisted on spectrum auctioning. The Law Minister, Mr Bhardwaj, wrote that given the implications of this particular matter, a group of ministers should be set up.


    Even Mr Bhardwaj?


    But you see, you have to give credit to the person. He took a firm stand, a clear stand on this.


    No, I said Mr Bhardwaj because you would expect political flexibility from him--ally ko accommodate karna hai.


    Could be, but in this case, he took a clear line under the rules of business, under the transaction of business rules, and Raja completely disregards that. So not just the affidavit, I think they had filed it on their own without consultation with the other departments which are implicated. And certainly the Prime Minister, I would be surprised. I would be surprised on both counts. If the Prime Minister did not know, then it would be a very surprising thing.


    You think normally the Prime Minister would have known, since you have been inside the system? You know prime ministers have a way of knowing what's going on.


    Yes, there is a delicious incident.


    Yashwant Sinha told me that you must remember prime ministers know everything under our system.


    And he narrates that when he was finance minister, he got a message from the leader of a state, saying, `please meet me'. Mr Sinha mentioned it to Prime Minister Mr Vajpayee. A month or two later, there was a lunch. Nobody knew about it.


    He (Sinha) had gone in an unmarked car. Lunch was over and this person handed him an envelope at the end of the lunch. Sinha put it in his pocket, came back and when he opened it, it was about some cases the person was involved in or the others were involved in and these were arguments as to why these cases do not merit consideration. So when he met Mr Vajpayee, he told him `unhone yeh kaha, maine yeh kaha'. Atalji kept listening, and then said, "aur woh lifafa (and that envelope)?" Sinha said he had not mentioned the lifafa. He had forgotten about it, but the Prime Minister knew. And he narrates several such instances.


    But now you think the Prime Minister had also had it?


    Yes, I think there is such brazenness in this and the CAG's report is quite well-documented and apart from the CAG, the facts are there.


    And he is not just implicating Arun Shourie or Pramod Mahajan--we are nobody, but Pranab Mukherjee one day, the Prime Minister one day.


    Only Sonia Gandhi is left?


    Sonia Gandhi se to darna padta hai.


    Raja talks about following firstcome first-served. But he says he (Shourie) also followed an old price discovered spectrum and I also did that.


    In 2001, tele-density in India was 3.8 per cent of the population. Today, it is nearly 50 per cent. At that time, spectrum was not short. Mobile telephony had just come. To encourage that, there was a policy.


    The whole sector had collapsed because of the fixed licence fee. So there was a transition to 1999.


    Okay, you don't pay the fixed fee, you pay a share of the revenue. It saved the sector and led to growth.


    At that time, that price was discovered. In 2003, if you look at the figures, there was hardly any growth, 3.8 went to about 5 per cent (teledensity). Now, when you have this enormous growth, to say that this asset costs only that much, and a very interesting point also, the licences which were given were not being used in some parts of the country, northeast, I think Orissa or West Bengal, one of the eastern states and Kashmir also. So we said, we should move towards auctioning. We should separate licencing from spectrum. In the meantime, don't hold up this process, go with the 2001 price. All this was done not by me alone, but by the group of ministers, by the cabinet.


    But he says that I have raised so much money from my 3G auction, nobody has done it.


    Because he has been forced to auction it, otherwise he would have done the 2G thing again in 3G.


    And that's when Pranab Mukherjee took charge.


    He had to. In the terms of reference of the group of ministers, the pricing of spectrum was included and Raja insisted this should be taken out. And somehow it was taken out and it could not have been done under our system without the knowledge of the Prime Minister. Of course, the Prime Minister has many other big things to do and was maybe not paying any attention to this but this is the kind of thing Raja's people will now argue in court.


    How good is the CBI? How good is our system for catching this?


    The CBI is quite competent to do these things, but unfortunately it has lost the will to do it, because it has been manipulated by politicians.


    Why is your party insisting on JPC? Is that a better way of doing it?


    With great respect to the Opposition, I think this is not the right demand at all. There was a JPC on Harshad Mehta, what happened?


    Nothing. Bofors, nothing happened.


    Pardon me for being cynical.


    Look at the BJP. Look at the state governments the BJP is running. Look at Jharkhand, look at Karnataka, they are among two of the most corrupt governments in India.


    Well, there is a great homogenisation of political parties. I think that's a great problem. If you go to Karnataka today and say what does X or Y party stand for, they stand for the same things. So, one should differentiate oneself by one's conduct. I believe idealism is the practical politics today.


    So you think overall, the action taken in the Raja case is a cause for some cheer?


    Yes, I think in three-four cases-in Adarsh Society, in Raja's case, in the Commowealth Games.


    Once again, a good beginning, but we must once begin and then persevere. I am delighted that action has been taken. All of us wish that the Prime Minister would exercise his authority more. Otherwise what is happening is what happened in Raja's case, that under the umbrella of the Prime Minister's good name, all this dacoity was going on. It is not a service to the country for a good person to be merely a good person in his own right.


    Arun, always a privilege to share a walk the talk with you and a much bigger privilege to walk in your steps.




    Transcribed by Sutirtha Sanyal

    http://arunshouri.blogspot.in/2010/11/demand-for-jpc-into-2g-is-not-right.html

    Bofors scandal

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Bofors scandal was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s and 1990s, initiated by Congress politicians and implicating the prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi and several others who were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB for winning a bid to supply India's 155 mm field howitzer.[1] 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. The Swedish company paid INR640 million (US$9.8 million) in kickbacks to top Indian politicians and key defence officials.[2] The case came into light duringVishwanath Pratap Singh's tenure as defence minister, and was revealed through investigative journalism by a team led by N. Ram of the newspaper The Hindu.[3] The journalist who secured the over 350 documents that detailed the payoffs was Chitra Subramaniamreporting for The Hindu. Later the articles were published in The Indian Express and The Statesman when The Hindu stopped publishing stories about the Bofors scandal under immense government pressure and Chitra Subramaniam moved to the two newspapers. In an interview with her, published in "The Hoot" in April 2012 on the 25th anniversary of the revelations[4] Sten Lindstrom, former chief of Swedish police discussed why he leaked the documents to her and the role of whistle-blowers in a democracy.[1]

    Chronology of events and investigation[edit]

    On 24 March 1986, a $285 million contract between the Govt of India and Swedish arms company Bofors was signed for supply of 410 155mm Howitzer field guns.[5] About a year later, on 16 April 1987, Swedish Radio alleged that Bofors paid kickbacks to top Indian politicians and key defence officials to seal the deal.[5]

    The middleman associated with the scandal was Ottavio Quattrocchi, an Italian businessman who represented the petrochemicals firmSnamprogetti.[1] Quattrocchi was reportedly close to the family of Rajiv Gandhi and emerged as a powerful broker in the 1980s between big businesses and the Indian government.[1] While the case was being investigated, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on 21 May 1991 for an unrelated cause by the LTTE.[1] In 1997, the Swiss banks released some 500 documents after years of legal battle. On 22 October 1999 (when National Democratic Alliance government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power) the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed the first chargesheet against Quattrocchi, Win ChadhaRajiv Gandhi, the defence secretary S. K. Bhatnagarand a number of others.[6] In second half of 2001, Win Chadha and S. K. Bhatnagar died.[7]

    On 10 June 2002, Delhi High Court quashed all proceedings in the case so far. However, this was reversed by Supreme Court of Indiaon 7 July 2003.[8]

    Meanwhile the central government changed and Indian National Congress came to power after 2004 Lok Sabha elections. On 5 February 2004, the Delhi High Court quashed the charges of bribery against Rajiv Gandhi and others,[9] On 31 May 2005, the Delhi High Court dismissed the allegations against the British business brothers, Shrichand, Gopichand and Prakash Hinduja, but charges against others remain.[10] In December 2005, 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 16 January, 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 23 January 2006 admitted that roughly Rs 210 million, about US $4.6 million, in the two accounts have already been withdrawn by the accused. The British government released the funds later.[6]

    However, on 16 January 2006, CBI claimed in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court that they were still pursuing extradition orders for Quattrocchi. The Interpol, at the request of the CBI, has a long-standing red corner notice to arrest Quattrocchi.[11] Quattrocchi was detained in Argentina on 6 February 2007, but the news of his detention was released by the CBI only on 23 February. Quattrocchi was released by Argentinian police. However, his passport was impounded and he was not allowed to leave the country.[12]

    As there was no extradition treaty between India and Argentina, the case was presented in the Argentine Supreme Court. The government of India lost the extradition case as the government of India did not provide a key court order which was the basis of Quattrocchi's arrest. In the aftermath, the government did not appeal this decision because of delays in securing an official English translation of the court's decision.[13]

    A Delhi court provided temporary relief for Quattrocchi from the case, for lack of sufficient evidence against him, on 4 March 2011.[14]However the case is still going on.

    On 12th July 2013, Quattrochi died of a heart attack in Milan.[15]

    Despite the controversy the Bofors gun was used extensively as the primary field artillery during the Kargil War with Pakistan and gave India 'an edge' against Pakistan according to battlefield commanders.[16]

    Allegations against CBI[edit]

    [icon] This section requires expansion(April 2012)

    CBI has been criticised by experts, social workers, political parties and people at large for the manner in which it has handled this case. Some points to note are:

    • Delay in lodging an FIR
    • Delay in sending letter rogatories
    • Not appealing against the judgement of the Delhi High Court in 2004
    • De-freezing of Quattrocchi's bank account in London by saying to the Crown Prosecutor that there is no case against Quattrocchi[17]
    • Putting up a very weak case for Quattrocchi's extradition from Argentina. Subsequently, no appeal against lower court's verdict[18]
    • The withdrawal of the Interpol Red Corner notice[19]
    • Finally, withdrawal of its case against Quattrocchi. Reacting to this, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav said that, "I agree that there are certain malafide intentions in the case and there is no doubt in that"[20]

    See also[edit]

    Further reading[edit]

    References[edit]

    1. Jump up to:a b c d e "What the Bofors scandal is all about"IBN Live. Archived from the original on 16 September 2012.
    2. Jump up^ http://indiatoday.intoday.in/index.php?issueid=89&id=39264&option=com_content&task=view&sectionid=4
    3. Jump up^ "Rediff on the NeT: Vir Sanghvi looks back at the Bofors scandal". Rediff.com. 23 September 1999.
    4. Jump up^ "The Bofors story, 25 years after". Thehoot.org. 16 April 1987.
    5. Jump up to:a b "25 years of India's 'Watergate': The Bofors scandal".Yahoo! News.
    6. Jump up to:a b "Chronology of the Bofors scandal"Daily News and Analysis.
    7. Jump up^ "Win Chadha's death, a setback to Bofors case". The Hindu. 25 October 2001.
    8. Jump up^ "SC court reverses Delhi HC decision to quash all proceeding in Bofors scam". indiankanoon.org. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
    9. Jump up^ "Rajiv Gandhi cleared over bribery"BBC News. 4 February 2004.
    10. Jump up^ "Welcome to Frontline : Vol. 30 :: No. 05". Hinduonnet.com.
    11. Jump up^ http://www.zeenews.com/news527876.html
    12. Jump up^ "The Q Deja Vu, Outlook Feb 26, 2007"Outlook (magazine).
    13. Jump up^ "Welcome to Frontline : Vol. 30 :: No. 05"The Hindu.[dead link]
    14. Jump up^ "Bofors case: 'Petitioner interested in cheap publicity'"The Times of India. 5 March 2011.
    15. Jump up^ http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/bofors-scam-italian-businessman-ottavio-quattrocchi-dies-391837
    16. Jump up^ "'Bofors gun helped India win against Pak'"Rediff.com. 8 July 2009.
    17. Jump up^ "'Farewell Gift to the Nation- In-Law'". 28 April 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
    18. Jump up^ "CBI lets "Q" Off the hook". Retrieved 27 April 2012.
    19. Jump up^ "Bofors case: Court to hold fresh proceedings in Quattrocchi's case"The Times of India. 28 August 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
    20. Jump up^ "Bofors: Court Pulls up CBI's 'Malafide Intentions'". Retrieved 27 April 2012.

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