Bofors scam: Swedish whistleblower reveals his identity after 25 years!!!

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by sob, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    How Rajeev Gandhi protected Quattrochi

    Bofors ‘Deep Throat’ reveals all: How Rajiv protected Quattrocchi | Firstpost

     
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  3. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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  4. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

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    rajeev made a mistake by marrying sonia

    if only he had married someone who was innocent and not in link with criminal networks, he would be alive today and his name wouldn't be tarnished with bofors scandal
     
  5. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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    ‘Can you imagine... no one from India met the real investigators of gun deal?’

    [​IMG]
    Sten Lindstrom, the former head of the Swedish police

    India angle in Bofors cropped up by accident, says Swedish ‘Deep Throat’, who has now identified himself. Excerpts from Sten Lindstrom’s interview to Chitra Subramaniam-Duella, from thehoot.org

    In 1987, former Swedish police head Sten Lindstrom shared key information with journalist Chitra Subramaniam-Duella (The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Statesman) on the Bofors-India deal. Twenty-five years on, Lindstrom identifies himself as he goes back to the case with Subramaniam-Duella.

    Why did you decide to identify yourself now?

    Twenty-five years is a good landmark. We have had some time for reflection. Now it is time to speak again. Corruption levels in the world are increasing... In a world of shrinking resources and ruthless ambition, we have to ensure that survival instincts that brought us out of the caves do not push us back in there because of a few greedy people. I hope I can contribute to the global struggle against corruption by sharing what I know.

    Tell us something about yourself.

    Like many Swedes of my generation, my wife Eva and I were raised in the best traditions of social democracy. Equity and justice for all is something we hold dear and for which we have [striven] as a nation.

    ...In my long career as a police officer I have seen many things. What was shocking in the whole Bofors-India saga was the scale of political involvement in Sweden breaking all rules including those we set for ourselves. Bofors was a wake-up call for most Swedes who thought corruption happens only far away in Africa, South America and Asia. There was disbelief and hurt when they found that some of their top politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen were no better than others. The $1.3 billion deal with India for the sale of 410 field howitzers, and a supply contract almost twice that amount, was the biggest arms deal ever in Sweden. Money marked for development projects was diverted to secure this contract at any cost. Rules were flouted, institutions were bypassed and honest Swedish officials and politicians were kept in the dark. Our former Prime Minister Olof Palme was talking peace, disarmament and sustainable development globally, while we were selling arms illegally, including to countries that were on our banned list. My office, the office of Hans Ekblom, the public prosecutor in Stockholm, our National Audit Bureau — everything was ignored. So was the Swedish taxpayer.

    The managing director of Bofors, Martin Ardbo, had worked very hard for this deal. He brought over 900 jobs to Karlskoga where Bofors is headquartered for at least a decade. When the stories started appearing, Ardbo was a shaken man. He knew that I knew that he had made a political payment even more secretly than the rest to close this deal. He told me he didn’t have a choice.

    How did the India angle in Bofors crop up?

    It was an accident. We were conducting several search and seize operations [on] the premises of Bofors and their executives. I have some experience in this area, so I asked my team to take everything they could find. In the pile [was] one set of documents to Swiss banks with instructions that the name of the recipient should be blocked out. An accountant doing his job asked why anonymity was necessary since the payments were legal. Bofors was unable to explain and then we found more and more documents leading to India...

    ...Looking back, what would you say are some of the lessons learnt?

    There are several, but I could mention a few. The role of the whistleblower is a part of democracy. When all official channels are clogged, you have to take a decision. We have a culture here that it is okay to blow the whistle... I knew what I was doing when I leaked the documents to you. I could not count on my government or Bofors or the government of India to get to the bottom of this. My only option was to leak the documents to someone we could trust.

    There needs to be a free and fair discussion in the media about itself. The media is the watchdog of our society — but who is watching the media? Most whistleblowers around the world leak information to the media because they feel they owe it to their country, their job or the position they are elected to.

    Genuine whistleblowers also expect the media to be responsible and according to me this means that the media has to understand the motives of whistleblowers... Every role has its limits. I cannot become a journalist, a journalist cannot become a judge, and a judge cannot become a politician. Who controls the media, what are their interests? What happens if a reporter is also part of the management? Do journalistic ethics compete with business and political interests of the media organisation? Can an ombudsman be the answer? If not, let us all work together globally to find a solution we all respect and understand.

    There is also a lot of debate in the world about the role of middlemen in arms deals. Some say they should not exist at all, others say they have a role. I believe they have a role insofar as marketing a product is concerned and they should be remunerated accordingly in a transparent way so that the cost to the buyer is not circulated as kickbacks. Where it becomes illegal and dangerous is when the ambit of their work includes paying politicians and bureaucrats and in some cases journalists to push their product...

    Tell us something about those days, people’s reactions, your difficulties.

    People in Sweden were shell-shocked. Bo G Andersson of the Dagens Nyhetter (DN), Burje Remdahl and Jan Mosander of the Swedish Radio are investigative journalists of repute. They were exposing illegal sales of arms to eastern Europe, the Middle East, even Vietnam through Australia. There was total disbelief in Karlskoga. The Indian deal was the straw that broke the camel’s back because it showed that corruption had reached right to the top in Sweden and in India... There was no evidence of any bribe being paid to Palme, but he and some of his ministers knew exactly what was going on.

    A quarter century later, any reflections on why Rajiv Gandhi’s name came up?

    There was no evidence that he had received any bribe. But he watched the massive cover-up in India and Sweden and did nothing. Many Indian institutions were tarred, innocent people were punished while the guilty got away. The evidence against Ottavio Quattrrocchi 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.

    [Proceedings against Quattrocchi have been dropped, his accounts de-frozen, after the Delhi High Court accepted the CBI’s plea to drop its case against him.]

    Ardbo was terrified about this fact becoming public. He had hidden it even from his own marketing director, Hans Ekblom, who said marketing middlemen had a role, but not political payments... As the stories began to appear, Ardbo knew what I knew. He had written in his notes that… at no cost could the identity of Q (Quattrocchi) be revealed because of his closeness to R (Rajiv Gandhi). He 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. I spent long hours interrogating Ardbo.

    What was your experience with the Indian investigators?

    The only team I met in early 1990 damaged the seriousness of my work and the media investigation. I met them on a courtesy call. They were in the process of filing a letter rogatory (LR) in Switzerland. Without an official request from Switzerland, Sweden could not intervene. They gave me a list of names to pursue including the name of Amitabh Bachchan. They also told me they did not trust you entirely because you had refused to link the Bachchans to the kickbacks. During that trip to Sweden, the Indian investigators planted the Bachchan angle on DN. The Bachchans took them to court in the UK and won. DN had to apologise and they said the story had come from Indian investigators. I was disappointed with the role of many senior journalists and politicians during that period. They muddied the waters.

    After the LR was lodged in Switzerland, I was waiting for the official track with India and Switzerland to begin. It never did. Whenever the public prosecutor Ekblom and I heard of any Indian visits to Stockholm, we would speak to the media expressing our desire to meet them. Can you imagine a situation where no one from India met the real investigators of the gun deal? That was when we saw the extent to which everyone was compromised. Many politicians who had come to my office claiming they would move heaven and earth to get at the truth if they came to power, fell silent when they held very important positions directly linked to the deal.

    Any final thoughts?

    There cannot be final thoughts on something like this. False closures of corruption bleed the system. Every day has to matter. When something like the scale and violence of Bofors happens, you begin to question your own faith as a professional and a human being. When you start losing faith, you begin to lose hope. When hope is lost, everything is lost. We cannot afford to let that happen. Maybe we will get nowhere, but silence cannot be the answer.

    ‘Can you imagine... no one from India met the real investigators of gun deal?’ - Indian Express
     
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  6. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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    Man who led probe into Bofors scam says Rajiv 'watched cover up and did nothing'

    The Swede who led the probe into the Bofors scam believes that the late Rajiv Gandhi may not have received any money in the deal but he took no action against the cover up in the probe.

    'There was no evidence that he (Rajiv) had received any bribe. But he watched the massive cover-up in India and Sweden and did nothing.
    Many Indian institutions were tarred, innocent people were punished while the guilty got away,' Sten Lindstrom, the former head of the Swedish police who led the probe into allegations of corruption in the Bofors deal, said.

    This month marks the 25th anniversary of the revelations into the scandal, which began on April 16, 1987, with a broadcast on Swedish state radio.

    Lindstrom had also leaked documents detailing the Rs64 crore kickbacks to The Hindu.

    The documents included payment instructions to banks, handwritten notes, minutes of meetings and an 'explosive diary'.

    The revelations led to the Congress losing the 1989 general elections. Lindstrom spoke of the former Prime Minister to Chitra Subramaniam-Duella, to whom he had leaked the documents, in an interview published in The Hoot (a popular online media observer) on Tuesday.

    But Lindstrom claimed that evidence against Ottavio Quattrocchi, close to Rajiv and Sonia, was concrete.

    'Through a front company called A.E. 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,' the expolice officer said.

    The former Swedish police chief claimed that it was by accident that the India angle into the Bofors deal cropped up.

    'We were conducting several search and seize operations in the premises of Bofors… In the pile were one set of documents to Swiss banks with instructions that the name of the recipient should be blocked out.

    An accountant asked why anonymity was required since the payments were legal. Bofors was unable to explain and then we found more and more documents leading to India.'


    Read more: Man who led probe into Bofors scam says Rajiv Gandhi 'watched cover up and did nothing' | Mail Online
     
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  7. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Interesting thanks for sharing..
     
  8. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Now what? Rajiv absolved? He "oversaw" the scandal. It all does not make sense.
     
  9. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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    what are you trying to say yusuf? :confused:
     
  10. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    "overseeing" the scandal means being a complicit. Maybe he "helped" his friends make money though he didn't make any himself as the whistleblower says. That does not absolve him. Overseeing can have two meanings. He knew about it or since he was the PM, he is held morally responsible without knowing anything.

    Indian journalists were responsible for some cover ups. So the game was big. Which tells you that RG was aware of everything but let it be so that his mates made money. What an idiot.
     
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  11. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

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  12. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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  13. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    :dude: Then his name would have been tarnished in some other scam:nod:.

    Thieves are thieves no matter where they or or who they marry. Dont blame Maino for his greed and incompetence, though you can abuse her for a lot of things for which i will not care:D:heh:
     
  14. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

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    the then Union Law Minister Hansraj Bhardwaj forced CBI to drop charges against Quattrocchi.

    now this pro-corrupt minister bhardwaj has been made governor, shameful

    Why was the fair name of Bachchan dragged into the scandal? As a diversionary tactic or as revenge for abandoning gandhi family?
     
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  15. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

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    rajeev was never corrupt, name any other scam that he was involved in.

    sonia was the one who did the bofors deal behind rajeev's back to help her friend quattrocchi.

    rajeev should have listened to indira and not married sonia.

    indira was a good judge of character.
     
  16. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    OT but Indira was not a good judge of character and got owned by Zulfiqar Bhutto.
     
  17. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Everything else is a red herring. The real point not to be missed is

    From various sting operations and media reports we know that the minister/leader concerned has to share a percentage with the party. This is for party funds used for fighting elections and for engineering defections in the opposition camps.
     
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  18. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

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    it was under soviet pressure that shimla agreement was signed, otherwise PoK would be back with India.

    Indira never believed bhutto who infamously called bangladeshis brothers and then called them pigs in the same speech, she knew his lying character.
     
  19. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    There was no soviet pressure in shimla. If the soviets were our friend, they would not have pressured us into a deal that went against Indian interests.
     
  20. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

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    when you have a unequal partnership, the bigger of the two decides your policy and you are forced to tow their line.

    this is what happened, we needed soviet support to keep out the americans during 1971 war and signed the friendship treaty and the soviets in their hurry to bring back normalcy and peace in the sub-continent put pressure on indira to sign the shimla agreement. In retrospect this could have been avoided.
     
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    He has categorically mentioned Quattrochi as the thief!

    He has said that there is no evidence to blame Rajiv G.

    And guess who are Mr 'Q's friends and benefactors?
     

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