The Bofors issue rocked Parliament on Thursday, with both Houses witnessing acrimonious exchanges between the Opposition and the treasury benches, leading to repeated adjournments.
In the Rajya Sabha, question hour was lost to frequent adjournments. The matter was allowed to be raised during zero hour, but pandemonium over the Congress having fielded nominated member Mani Shankar Aiyar to make observations led to another adjournment until after lunch.
Bhartiya Janata Party member Najma Heptulla's ‘point of order' that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as the Leader of the House, should be present was lost in the din. Dr. Singh was in the House during question hour adjournments.
The proceedings in the Lok Sabha, too, were disrupted in the pre-noon session, with the Opposition BJP and the Left parties demanding that the case be re-opened and a fresh judicial probe ordered.
The BJP members walked into the well of the House following heated exchanges with the Congress members, forcing Speaker Meira Kumar to adjourn it until post-lunch, after Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress said the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi's name had been cleared, and the BJP owed an apology for defaming him.
Raising the issue during zero hour, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh described the Bofors as “the correct weapon, acquired in a wrong manner. You [the Congress] have paid, we have paid. The nation continues to pay,” while demanding that an independent commission be set up to look into the new facets of the deal that had come in the public domain.
Basudeb Acharia of the CPI(M) demanded that the case be re-opened, an independent inquiry instituted, and Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi extradited to India.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi were present in the House at the time. The Lok Sabha had earlier seen a brief disruption during question hour.
Raising the issue during zero hour, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said he was not interested in embarrassing any government, party or individual, but “there must be introspection on where we have gone wrong and the capacity of the investigating agencies in the pursuit of truth. Despite conclusive proof, you've been unable to nail the culprit.”