New Delhi: Congress leader Manish Tewari on Tuesday backed President Pranab Mukherjee's observation on the Bofors scandal and alleged that many people in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attempted to build their political career following this case.
"The President of India is absolutely correct. Bofors was a mind-numbing exercise in slander, and people in the BJP built political careers out of that slander. Ultimately, no court of law found anything in the Bofors matter, and even the then BJP Government led by Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee did not have the temerity to file an appeal against the decision of the Delhi High Court," said Tewari.
"So, the President is absolutely correct when he characterizes it as a numbing exercise in insinuation....and the fact is that a lot of reputations in the BJP just got built on castles of sand," he added.
President Mukherjee, had earlier in an interview with Dagens Nyheter newspaper ahead of an official visit to Sweden next week, said that the Bofors scandal had not been proved to be a scandal in a court of law.
"First of all - it is yet to be to be established that there was a scandal. No Indian court has established it. I was the defence minister of the country long after Bofors, and all my generals certified that this is one of the best guns we are having. Till today, Indian army is using it. The so-called scandal which you talk of, yes, in the media, it was there. There was a media trial. But I'm afraid, let us not be too much carried by publicity," said President Mukherjeer.
When asked if it was just a media scandal, he said: "I do not know. I'm not describing it, you're putting that word. Don't put that word. What I am saying is that in media it was publicised. But up to now, no Indian court has given any decisive verdict about the alleged scandal."
The Bofors scandal was a USD 285 million contract between the Indian Government and Swedish arms company Bofors, signed for supply of 155mm howitzer field guns in 1986.
The Bofors gun was used during the Kargil conflict with Pakistan and the gun proved very effective and it is still one of the main artillery weapons of the Indian Army.