Less than a week after the World Exclusive expose on the three-decades-old Bofors scandal rocked Parliament and raised critical questions about then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's role in India's most infamous scam, Republic TV was able to access a secret memorandum from February 1,1992, that lays bare an attempt by the then Congress-led government to scuttle the ensuing Swiss probe into illegal remittances.
Read | The Bofors scandal exposé
The memorandum was handed over by the then External Affairs minister Madhav Singh Solanki to his Swiss counterpart René Felber on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Switzerland. The unplanned meeting to exchange the note took place just two years after the Indian government had requested Switzerland for mutual assistance. A small room was found and only the two foreign ministers were present.
1. Switzerland was asked to stop its probe into the matter till India completes its own probe.
2. That allegations resulting from the Bofors scandal couldn't be proven and that the request to Switzerland for mutual assistance was based on political reasons
3. The allegations caused the fall of the Rajiv Gandhi-led government.
4. Until a final decision is issued by Indian courts, no further steps should be taken by Switzerland on the matter.
5. In case the Swiss authorities continue with their probe, it will be in violation of the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty.
A day after Republic TV exposed massive revelations in the infamous Bofors case, the issue echoed in Parliament on Monday. Chants of ‘Bofors’ were heard as soon as the House convened for the day.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi raised the issue of the Bofors scandal, demanding the opening of the 'boxes'. She said the 'ghost of Bofors' will continue to haunt Parliament. The BJP accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi of helping the middleman in the case, Ottavio Quattrocchi.