Cites order of Income Tax authorities on money trail to Win Chadha, Quattrocchi
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Monday demanded re-opening of criminal investigations into the 25-year-old Bofors case, citing the order of the Income Tax authorities who have detailed the money trail of kickbacks and commissions paid to Win Chadha and Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Howitzer deal.
He said the Bofors case was not just one of bribes paid and received, but more importantly, there was a huge cover-up operation. “I want to remind [Congress president] Sonia Gandhi that we do not need five points to fight corruption, but just one: send the corrupt to jail and do not cover up,” he said referring to Ms. Gandhi's speech at the All-India Congress Committee session last month.
The BJP leader explained that apparently son of the deceased Win Chadha had pleaded against an earlier demand (reported to be nearly Rs.53 crore) made against assessment of Chadha's income tax. That plea has now been dismissed and the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has pointed out that since kickbacks and commissions in the deal were held to be illegal, Chadha was not allowed to claim as expenses, any part of the commissions he received, and may have parted with to other partners in the deal like Mr. Quattrocchi.
The Tribunal's decision came on December 31, 2010. This is the first time that a government agency has acknowledged that commissions and kickbacks were paid in the Bofors deal, Mr. Jaitley said.
Hitting out hard against the Central Bureau of Investigation for its “poor work” in the Bofors case, Mr. Jaitley said that it was odd that the CBI found no evidence of kickbacks. The Tribunal was able to demand tax on kickbacks paid and received.
“The CBI perpetuated a fraud at the behest of its political masters,” Mr. Jaitley said, without elaborating on what the CBI did between 1989 and 2004, when there were several non-Congress governments at the Centre, including BJP-led governments from 1998 to 2004.
“The truth has come out by default,” Mr. Jaitley said, adding that truth had an inconvenient habit of coming out into the open.
He added the resurrection of the Bofors ghost had come at a time when the Manmohan Singh government was already facing flak on the 2 G spectrum allocation scandal and the Commonwealth Games-related corruption.
On the Bofors issue, it was not enough for Win Chadha's heirs to pay the income tax due from them, but the CBI must reopen the criminal investigations in the case so that the guilty can be prosecuted, said Mr. Jaitley.
Keywords: Bofors case