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Monday, 30 April 2012

Uproar in LS over Bofors issue, House adjourned for 90 minutes


Uproar in LS over Bofors issue, House adjourned for 90 minutes

New Delhi, Apr 26 (PTI) :The Bofors issue on Thursday led to disruption in Lok Sabha with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Leftparties demanding reopening of the graft case and a judicial probeinto it.
BJP members trooped into the well following heated exchanges withCongress members, forcing Speaker Meira Kumar to adjourn the House forover 90 minutes.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singhsaid though "the correct weapon was acquired, it was acquired in awrong manner ....You (Congress) have paid, we have paid. The nation continues to pay".
"Till you don't remove this thorn, the poison will continue to spread.... Whatever is happening in the defence sector today is because ofthis episode. It is a saga of continuing corruption. In matters ofcorruption, there is no closure," he said, demanding setting up of ajudicial commission to probe the issue.
CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia demanded reopening of the Bofors pay-offs case, institution of anindependent inquiry and extradition of Italian businessman OttavioQuattrocchi.
Admitting that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had failed toget Quattrocchi extradited after his arrest in Malaysia, Singh said,"Many will say why did you not do it. You have failed, we have failed.But don't consider our failure as your success."
Observing that it gave him "no delight" to raise this issue, he said,"25 years have passed but the storm of Bofors refuses to subside andthe guns continue to blaze."
Without naming Rajiv Gandhi, the BJP leader said, "The absence of thelate Prime Minister is felt. A promising leader was taken away fromour polity."
The reason behind Congress being reduced from its "historic" victoryof 404 seats in Lok Sabha in 1984 to 114 in the next elections wasBofors pay-offs deal, he said.
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi were present in the House whenthe Opposition members raised the issue. The Lok Sabha had earlierseen brief disruption on the issue during Question Hour.
Singh posed a series of questions on the matter and asked why theIndian investigating teams which went to Sweden did not meet theirSwedish counterparts probing the matter.
He claimed that Quattrocchi was "permitted through governmentconnivance to escape from Delhi".
He sought to know why "political" donations were paid to the accountof AE Services, a company owned by the Italian businessman. "How canit (donations) be political in nature when it went to a businessman.We all know he worked for Snam Progetti and what happened in it. Wemust know what his political purpose was," he said.
The BJP leader asked why the Red Corner notice against Quattrocchi waswithdrawn and why an "inept and incapable" team was sent to Brazil,which failed to bring him back.
Singh alleged that Quattrocchi had moved money from his London accountand demanded that the account details be obtained by the government.He termed as false the government statements that there were no casesagainst him, which led to defreezing of his accounts.
Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) asked what was the "interest" in not allowinga proper enquiry and his extradition. "What was the cover-up, whoprotected Quattrocchi, what interest did he have ...The Bofors scandalis not a closed chapter ... we will continue to raise this issue" tillthe persons responsible were brought to book.
As Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal said the oppositionleaders were "lying", Congress members sought an apology from them,provoking BJP members to troop into the well.
Sanjay Nirupam (Cong) said the Supreme Court has given a clean chit toRajiv Gandhi and sought to know why NDA did not do anything for sixyears when it was in power.