Sweden cancelled Bofors probe to help Rajiv: Declassified CIA doc
The CIA document reveals that the Swedish government abandoned the probe into the Bofors scandal saying "in an effort to prevent future revelations of bribes to Indian officials that could embarrass Prime Minister Gandhi (sic)"
A confidential CIA assessment declassified in December 2016 allegedly reveals that the Swedish government deliberately put a hold on the infamous Bofors scandal in order to prevent embarrassment to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The document discloses the Swedish government abandoning the investigations into the Bofors scandal saying "in an effort to prevent future revelations of bribes to Indian officials that could embarrass Prime Minister Gandhi (sic)".
"Stockholm wanted to save Gandhi the troubles caused him by the Swedish leak, and Nobel Industries (a sister company of Bofors AB which took over Bofors AB in 1985) wanted to avoid a bribery indictment. The two sides cooperated, therefore, on a scheme to keep details of the payments secret. "
An equally interesting aspect of the document is that though the Indian connection to the scandal where Bofors AB allegedly bribed Indian middlemen and officials, had already become public in 1987, the firm was already facing probe for bribery since 1984.
"Stockholm called off a Swedish police investigation in late January 1988 after, following a trip by Gandhi to Stockholm," the declassified document revealed. Sweden claimed it was unable to track payments made through Swiss bank accounts, and allegedly made a lazy request for Swiss assistance.
The new revelations are part of an assessment report of CIA titled "Sweden's Bofors Arms Scandal: A Summary of the Diversions, Investigations, and Implications" (also available on CIA's online library), prepared on March 4, 1988, two years after the government of India signed a $1.5 billion deal to purchase 410 155mm howitzer guns.
The new disclosures will give a boost to BJP-led NDA's attack towards the Congress ahead of the assembly elections in five states - Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab and Goa. It will be a huge setback for Congress which is looking for a resurrection after it's washout in the 2014 Lok Sabha Election.
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