Rajiv didn't take Bofors bribe, but Gandhi family may have protected Quattrochi, says Ex-Swedish police chief

New Delhi, Apr 25:  Former Swedish Police chief Sten Lindstrom, who acted as the whistleblower in the infamous Bofors payoff case,  has said that there was no evidence to prove that former prime minister Rajiv
rajiv didn t take bofors bribe but gandhi family...
PTI 25 Apr 2012, 02:15 PM IST
New Delhi, Apr 25:  Former Swedish Police chief Sten Lindstrom, who acted as the whistleblower in the infamous Bofors payoff case,  has said that there was no evidence to prove that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi did take bribe from Bofors, but he said his family may have tried its best to protect the accused Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochi, The Times of India reported today.

Lindstrom has owned up being the ‘Swedish Deep Throat' in the illegal payoffs case.

In an exclusive interview to Chitra Subramanian, The Hindu reporter who first broke the Bofors story with evidences, Lindstrom said, there was no evidence to suggest that M Rajiv Gandhi had taken bribe in the Bofors deal.

However, he did not seem to have done much to prevent the cover up that followed in both India and Sweden to protect the main accused, Ottavio Quattrocchi, against whom, says Lindstrom, there was conclusive evidence.

Lindstrom has revealed that he was the person who leaked over 350 documents to the Indian journalist.

He was the journalist's secret informant who operated under the pseudonym of Swedish Deep Throat.

"Many Indian institutions were tarred, innocent people were punished while the guilty got away," says Lindstrom.

"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."

In the interview, appearing in a website The Hoot, Lindstrom says, "Ardbo (Bofors managing director) had also mentioned a meeting between an AE 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."

Lindstrom's 'disclosures' are known in India, examined even by courts and brushed aside, and the timing of the disclosure that he was the 'Deep Throat' for the exposes on Bofors scam is certain to trigger some speculation about his motive.

Quattrocchi was discharged in 2009 by the court which observed that the CBI, which withdrew prosecution against him, had failed to "put forward legally sustainable evidence with regard to conspiracy in the matter''.In fact, Lindstrom goes on to suggest that the Gandhi family may have gone out of his way to protect Quattrocchi.

 "He (Ardbo) had written in his notes that the identity of N (Arun Nehru) 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)."

Lindstrom gives a clean chit to Amitabh Bachchan and his family saying that the story against them was planted in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter by Indian investigators. "They 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 DN,'' he says.
 
   
 

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