New Delhi: The kickback scam surrounding the Bofors Howitzer Gun deal was politicized because of the involvement of Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and Ottavio Quattrocchi, both of whom were Italians, claims a political analyst.
Professor Tulsi Ram said, "The issue was politicised because Sonia Gandhi and Quattrocchi were Italians."
Professor Ram said that even after nearly three decades of the scam first coming to light, no investigative agency had come up with any strong evidence to nail the accused, and this was one of the reasons why the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) had to end the probe.
Ram predicted that political parties would most definitely raise the issue again, especially with general elections round the corner.
"This will be raised during elections along with other issues. This is a big political issue. There is no strong evidence against any of the accused," he said.
When asked about a possible comparison with Coalgate, Professor Ram said that the latter was an entirely different issue, as the accused have been arrested "Bofors in comparison to Coalgate is a small issue. The NDA was in power for six years, but couldn’t do anything on this. This shows that the Bofors scam was used for political purposes," he claimed.
Speaking in Mumbai, Janata party president Subramanium Swamy opined that Quattrocchi’s death or him being alive would make no difference whatsoever to the Bofors case or investigation.
"He is free from punishment, but he has nothing to do with this case now," Swamy said.
Their comments came a day after Quattrocchi died of a heart attack in Milan, Italy.
Local media reports said that his funeral will take place on Monday.
It may be recalled that Quattrocchi represented Italian petrochemicals firm Snamprogetti and was accused of being one of the middleman in the Bofors scandal.
He was also said to be close to the Nehru- Gandhi family, and this fuelled speculation about his rise as a power broker between New Delhi and international businesses.
The Bofors scam relates to a March 1986 deal between the Indian Government and Swedish arms company Bofors for the supply of 410 155mm Howitzer field guns worth about 285 to 286 million dollars.
A year later, news broke that Bofors had allegedly paid kickbacks worth Rs. 64 crore to top Indian politicians and officials to secure the deal.