Dramatis personae in Bofors scam, men who died wanted

March 4th, 2011 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) The men accused in the two-decade-old Bofors kickback scandal, which led to the fall of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989:

Win Chadha: A Dubai-based businessman and arms agent named as one of the key accused in the scandal died in October 2001, days before a court was to give its verdict on his application to visit his family in the Gulf country.

A former agent of Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors, Chadha was accused of receiving kickbacks in the Rs.14.37 billion deal signed in March 1986 for the supply of 400 155mm Howitzer field guns to India. He was extradited to India from Dubai in March 2000. He was given bail but was asked not to leave the country.

S.K. Bhatnagar: The former defence secretary, also a key figure in the long-running Bofors arms case, died in 2001 at the age of 71. Bhatnagar was heading the Price Negotiating Committee that allowed the Bofors bag the contract. He was accused of misusing his official position to tilt the scales in favour of the Swedish firm.

He was given two extensions in office by Gandhi before he retired in 1989 and was made governor of Sikkim.

Martin Karl Ardbo: The former AB Bofors president, who signed the gun deal, died a “proclaimed offender” in Sweden in July 2004. He was 77 and was suffering from cancer in his last days.

It was he who had authored a diary in 1987 that hinted at the involvement of Gandhi, his Swedish counterpart Olaf Palme, the Hinduja brothers and Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the case. He was a former Swedish naval officer.

He was called called for trial in India in 1999 but refused to appear. He was also convicted by a Swedish court of smuggling copies of air defence missile system Robot 70 to Dubai and Bahrain. The Gulf countries were not approved recipients of Swedish arms.

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