Guwahati, Jan 9 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came down heavily on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre on the second day of their national executive committee meet here on Sunday, alleging that Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi's involvement in the Bofors pay-offs lead 'directly to the doorstep of Congress President Sonia Gandhi'.
Sharpening its attack on Gandhi, the BJP said:"There are more attempts by the government to cover it (Bofors scam) up and this we attribute to be a culture of the Congress, the evidence of which you see even after 23 years."
"The Bofors case - the cover-up was attempted even till the last day, has come out openly now. Given the experience in Bofors, 2G, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh, that is exactly what is going to happen in 2011 too," said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.
The BJP also sought an explanation from the Gandhi family on its relations with Quattrocchi and his dealings.
"Therefore, today there is a very clear need for the first family of the Congress to explain where they stand on this. Who was Quattrocchi and what was his link with the household of the then Prime Minister (Rajiv Gandhi) and if indeed Quattorcchi received the kickbacks, where is all that money?" Sitharaman asked.
An income tax tribunal in its order issued indicated how much money Quattrocchi and Win Chaddha were paid by Bofors as bribes.
The kickbacks violated rules, as a middleman is illegal in defence deals in India. Therefore, Quattrocchi and Chaddha are liable to pay income tax on bribe money they got while living in India.
It also claimed that due to the kickbacks, India had to pay almost Rs. 160 crore extra for the guns.
The Bofors scandal was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB who were awarded the contract for the supply of 155 mm field howitzers.
The scale of the corruption was far worse than any that India had seen before, and contributed to the defeat of Rajiv Gandhi's ruling Indian National Congress party in the November 1989 general elections.
Further criticizing Dr. Manmohan Singh over the various scams during his tenure as Prime Minister of the country, Sitharaman said: "On 2G, Commonwealth Games - the repeated assertions of those who are accused, take the allegations to the doorsteps of the Prime Minister's Office." (ANI)