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HVK Archives: Bofors will haunt Indian politics again

Bofors will haunt Indian politics again - The Times of India

Sabina Sehgal Saikia ()
February 26, 1998

Title: Bofors will haunt Indian politics again
Author: Sabina Sehgal Saikia
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 26, 1998

The spectre of the Bofors gun deal could come back to haunt
Indian politics, even as a new government gets installed at the
Centre before the stipulated date of March 15.

While the crucial second set of Swiss bank documents could arrive
in India any day now, sources in the Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) have confirmed that a team of senior officers
>from the investigating agency would be visiting London and the
Channel Islands on March 9 in connection with the Bofors probe.

"It seems that the decade-long investigation into the Bofors case
is finally inching towards its logical conclusion. With these
developments, it would be extremely difficult for anyone to
suppress the probe any longer," a senior CBI official associated
with the Bofors investigations said.

The CBI team is scheduled to hold talks with British authorities
on India's request of freezing and identifying the holders of
three Channel Island accounts, reportedly linked to the Bofors
kickbacks. The scheduled visit of the CBI team follows the
willingness expressed by officials in the Channel Island to
entertain this request. The CBI has been asked by these officials
to furnish details of their objections to the three accounts,
sources in the CBI said.

Payments into the three Channel Island accounts are understood to
have streamed out from the account of Ottavio Quattrocchi into
which a part of the Bofors kickbacks was allegedly channelised.
"These outflows were traced by the CBI after a thorough scrutiny
of the first set of documents which arrived from Switzerland last
year, which included the payments made into the account of
Ottavio Quattrocchi," a CBI official said.

Sources in the CBI claim that the British government's
willingness to discuss India's request of freezing and
identifying the holders of these three accounts is encouraging,
particularly since revelations of these accounts could link the
outflows of the Bofors kickbacks and, ultimately, trace the final
beneficiaries of the kickbacks.

According to a PTI report from London, the CBI team would first
fly to London and then proceed to St Peter's Port to hold talks
with officials of the attorney general's office at the Guernsey
Island. The report adds, "The CBI team would hold talks with
Channel Island officials for over a week before returning to
India on March 17."

"Unravelling and identifying the account holders in the Channel
Islands would take the investigations into the Bofors gun deal to
their logical conclusion," a senior CBI official said. The CBI
team is to be led by superintendent D P Galhotra and will
comprise U S Prasad, a legal adviser to the CBI.

The Indian government had sent letters rogatory to the British
home office in December alleging that it apprehended that part of
the Rs 640 million pay off had been transferred from the Swiss
banks to these Channel Island accounts.

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