Cong refuses to comment on tribunal findings on Bofors

Congress declined immediate comment on an IT tribunal findings that kickbacks of Rs 41 crore were paid to late Win Chaddha and Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors gun deal.

Updated: Jan 03, 2011, 22:09 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress on Monoday declined immediate comment on an IT tribunal findings that kickbacks of Rs 41 crore were paid to late Win Chaddha and Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors gun deal.

"We have heard it only an hour before. We are not going to react to it in a hurry only because such a news has appeared in media or the Opposition has reacted to it. We will have to see the order first and then only we will give a response. Congress is not known for giving knee-jerk reactions," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said at the AICC media briefing.

The party`s comments came after the Opposition mounted attack on Congress over the report of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

In the order, the Tribunal details the denials by gun maker Bofors about existence of middlemen in the 1986 deal valued at Rs 1,437 crore and the efforts by Quarterdeck to open a series of accounts to transfer funds in an attempt to obliterate the money trail.
Holding that Bofors should have reduced the commissions paid from the contract price, the Tribunal observed that government had to pay excess amount of about Rs 41 crore, which was passed to Chaddha and Quattrocchi against the terms of contract. Quattrocchi, an Italian businessman, was known to be close to Gandhi family.

The Opposition was quick to make a capital out of the issue with BJP taking dig at Congress President Sonia Gandhi, saying this is a "timely reminder" to her on how to combat corruption.

"Ironically, for Sonia Gandhi this is a timely reminder that you do not need five points to fight corruption. You need just one point and that is to start sending the guilty to jail. And don`t cover-up," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told reporters.

A senior Congress leader speaking on the condition of anonymity, however, insisted that Congress had never defended Quattrocchi or Chadda but was only concerned about false propaganda against the party and its leader Rajiv Gandhi.
The leader asked why no action could be initiated against Quattrocchi when NDA was in power. He at the same admitted that the issue was a delicate one for the Congress and needed to be tackled deftly.

PTI