24 November, 2020

Hiding Under Legalities?

Was the Government refuses to table the Bofors papers, investigations throw up more questions

Hiding Under Legalities?

WAS H.D. Deve Gowda unaware of the legality of tabling the Bofors documents in Parliament? Or did he change his mind in view of political compulsions? Within a fortnight of the Prime Minister's categorical assurance that the Bofors papers would be tabled in Parliament, it became clear that it was not to be. Three days later Law Minister Ramakant Khalap and then Speaker P.A. Sangma told BJP members, who had been demanding the placement of papers, that it was not possible in view of 'sovereign guarantees' given by the Indian Government to Sweden in 1989.

Sovereign guarantees, according to a Law Ministry official, were given by the V.P. Singh Government, which was trying to negotiate the transfer of Bofors papers from Switzerland to India. As per the terms of the agreement, the papers could be transferred to India on certain grounds: they could not be used to effect a witch hunt or a 'human rights' violation and could only be used for a police investigation or in the courts.

Accordingly, on February 24, the Union Law Ministry faxed the Swiss Justice Ministry, asking whether...



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