Every now and then this Bofors issue is brought to news; as a distraction tactic to shift the attention of people from more important and vital issues.
Some issues are purely political. One such issue is that of Bofors.
I’m saying this because every now and then this Bofors issue is brought to news; as a distraction tactic to shift the attention of people from more important and vital issues.
There are certain facts which need to be known about Bofors. In February 2004, the Delhi High Court closed the Bofors case and declared every accused NOT guilty. At that time it was BJP Govt. at the Centre. It could have gone to challenge the Delhi High Court judgment, but for some reason it didn’t.
Another fact also proves why Bofors in 2019 must be a non-issue.
The total Bofors gun contract between India and Sweden was of around Rs. 1500 crore initiated by INC Govt. 1986. It was alleged that the then Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, and several other members of the Indian and Swedish governments received Rs. 64 crore as kickbacks in the deal.
Although, the 2004 Court judgement itself must have closed the Bofors issue; those who still see it time worthy, must understand that even the amount of the deal and kickbacks don’t warrant any focus on the issue.
Now lets come to the Rafale deal review cases pending before the Supreme Court. Just yesterday, the Govt. has filed a fresh affidavit in the Court that since more details about the deal cannot be revealed due to official secrets act, hence the Supreme Court must dismiss the Rafale review cases pending before it. According to the present Govt. the Rafale deal cannot be looked into on the basis of some stolen documents disclosing incomplete file notings.
Such an affidavit by the Govt. is problematic because the Court can hear such reviews. One thing is interesting here. The present Govt. is publicly saying (has also mentioned in the fresh affidavit) that the Supreme Court of India order on December 14, 2018 has given it a Clean Chit. The Court has not given it a clean chit, the Court seems to have only conveyed this through the said order. In simple, the said order only seems to have conveyed the Government that the Court can only see that much of evidence. If the Government wants more transparency then let it do that in the Parliament.
Just a week ago, the Govt. had sought more time to respond to the Court order, which told the Modi Govt. to respond to the Rafale deal review cases. So there are many flip flops on the part of the Govt. here.
Compared to the size of Rafale deal, the Bofors stands nowhere. The new Rafale deal is approximately Rs. 60,000 crores. Hence the present Govt. must have shown some eagerness to remove any doubts in the minds of people. Interestingly, the present Govt. not even allowed a Joint parliamentary committee, which most governments form without any argument.
To conclude, Bofors seems to be just another distraction tactic, which emerges every time some government has to distract people’s attention from real issues. If corruption takes place in govt. contracts, then it may apply to Rafale as well. As far as Bofors is concerned, the Court has found everyone NOT GUILTY more than 15 years ago. The deal itself took place more than three decades now. The size of Bofors deal and the kickback allegations was also insignificant compared to that of Rafale. Late Rajiv Gandhi might have died in 1991 with some Bofors allegations, but his Govt. at least tried to be seen as transparent by constituting a JPC. In Rafale deal, the present Government did nothing to allay those doubts.