9Bofors Scandal worth ₹64 cr
The Bofors scandal has to be one of the most polarising scandals that India has witnessed. It culminated in the felling of the then Indian National Congress led government. It began in early 1986 when the government of India entered into a contract with Swedish arms company, Bofors to supply 410 155 mm Howitzer field guns. The deal worth was a whopping Rs. 1437 crores. It as at that time, the biggest arms deal ever in Sweden and the money earmarked for other development projects in India was diverted to fulfil this deal. Almost a year after the deal was struck, Swedish Radio alleged that Bofors had paid huge amounts of kickbacks to politicians and defence personnel from both Sweden and India to make the deal happen. The bribes paid to the Indian politicians and defence personnel were pegged at around Rs. 64 crores. Though the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi stated in the Parliament that there were no kickbacks and middlemen involved, he was not able to convince the public and his government was overthrown in the next general election in 1989.
In response to the outcry over the scandal, a joint parliamentary commission was setup which was led by former union minister B Shankaranand in 1987. The JPC submitted its report in 1989 following which Congress lost the election and the new Prime Minister VP Singh blacklisted Bofors and they could not sign any other contract with India. The first FIR in the case was registered in 1990 by Central Bureau of Investigation when it charged Martin Adbro, the then President of Bofors along with the middlemen Win Chaddha and Hinduja brothers. Another middleman associated with the scandal was Ottavio Quattrocchi who was close to the family of Rajiv Gandhi. However, the wily businessman had never appeared before an Indian court despite being detained in Malaysia and Argentina.