This article has been written by Vikash Singh, 4th year Student of B.A.LL.B of the IIMT College of Law, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.


In the period of 1980, a contract was made between America and Pakistan regarding a fleet of f-16 fighters. This contract created a critical demand for its upgrades, including a 155mm howitzer system to fight Pakistan’s new line of F-16. A Negotiating Committee was constituted under also defence secretary S.K Bhatnagar which was shortlisted for the stylish choice of howitzer following two manufacturers as first was AB Bofors and alternate was France’s Sofma.  The Bofors had been selected for the manufacture of the howitzer but no reason was given for not being selected for France’s Sofma manufacturer by the Negotiating Committee.

Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister of India at that time and they and his Swedish counterpart, Olof Palme discussed the Bofors contract throughout 1985. In January 1986, Olof Palme met Gandhi in New Delhi to finalise the contract. Palme’s efforts/sweat paid off as Bofors received the $1.4 billion order of 410 Bofors howitzers in March, the largest arms deal in Swedish history. The final stage of decision-making was unusually rushed; barely two days passed from the recommendation of Bhatnagar’s committee in favour of Bofors and Rajiv Gandhi’s hand.

The scam/fiddle broke with a 1987 broadcast by the Swedish Radio programme, Dagens Eko. Grounded on the evidence of the former Bofors employee turned whistleblower, Ingvar Bratt, it contended that Bofors bribed top Indian politicians to clinch/decide the Howitzer deal.

An April 16, 1987 broadcast by a journalist, Magnus Nilsson, on Dagens Eko, the news arm of Swedish public radio, had started it all: At Bofors, the work with the big Indian order began formerly in the late 1970s and also on till the contract was signed/inked in March last time the company was backed by an Indian agent who helped Bofors with original connections and support within the Indian military authorities, within the bureaucracy, and Prime Minister [Rajiv] Gandhi’s Congress Party. In November last time, Bofors began paying remunerations to the Indian contacts who had helped the company, but the plutocrat was not directly transferred to India. Rather it was transferred to secret bank accounts in Suisse Bank in Geneva.


Bofors AB: Swedish arms manufacturer known for the production of artillery and upgraded weapons. It has gone through colorful combinations and accessions and is now part-possessed by BAE Systems getting BAE Systems Bofors AB.

Svenska Inc: A company of Panama, Svenska is one of the central companies paid by Bofors. Win Chadha was its ultimate devisee.

Anatronic General Corporation: A company registered in India, Anatronic is one of the central companies paid by Bofors. Win Chadha was its ultimate beneficiary.

AE Services Limited: A company registered in the UK, AE is one of the central companies paid by Bofors. Its ultimate beneficiary/devisee was Ottavio Quattrocchi.

Moineao S.A./Pitco/Moresco: Once believed to be one of the central companies allegedly paid by Bofors. Moineao S.A, frequently appertained to by the law-names Pitco and Moresco, was revealed to have never existed.

McIntyre Corporation: A company registered in Panama, McIntyre was the true recipient/philanthropist of the finances paid to ‘Moineao S.A./Pitco/Moresco’. Its ultimate beneficiary/devisee was Prakash Hinduja.

Martin Karl Ardbo: Bofors AB CEO who played a crucial role in the Bofors deal. His journal and the crucial evidence contained within it were leaked to the press by Sten Lindstöm. He died on July 29th, 2004 in Sweden of cancer, aged 77.

Olof Palme:  Sweden’s Prime Minister (1969-1976 and 1982-1986). crucial figure in pushing the deal. He failed on February 28th, 1986 by assassination, aged 59.

Rajiv Gandhi: Prime Minister of India (1984-1989). Crucial figure in negotiating the deal. He died on May 21st, 1991 by assassination, aged 46.

Sonia Gandhi: President of the Indian National Congress (1998 to 2017 and 2019-present), and wife of Rajiv Gandhi. She has a huge influence on the Indian political elections and electorate.

Ottavio Quattrocchi: Italian businessman. Was a close friend of Rajiv’s wife, Sonia Gandhi. Quattrocchi’s financier son, Massimo Quattrocchi, grew up with Sonia Gandhi’s children, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra. Quattrocchi was an alleged conduit for backhanders in the Bofors scandal. He died on July 13th, 2013 in Italy, aged 74.

Washeshar Nath Chadha, alias Win Chadha:  Businessman of India and former Bofors agent. Chadha was an alleged conduit for backhanders to the deal. They failed on October 24th, 2001 of a cardiac arrest at his residence in New Delhi, aged 77.

The Hinduja Brothers (Shrichand, Gopichand and Prakash Hinduja): The trio are leading owners of Hinduja Group, an Anglo-Indian, transnational conglomerate with bases in London, Mumbai, and Geneva. They have denied any involvement in the Bofors affair despite being linked to bank accounts involved in the transfer of payments. They top the UK Rich List with a combined family wealth of £28.5 billion.

Sharad Kumar Bhatnagar, shortened to S.K. Bhatnagar: Indian Defence Secretary (1984-1988). Bhatnagar is indicated of misusing his position to push the deal through.

Amitabh Bachchan:  Actor of the Indian film industry, former politician, and Lok Sabha chair who was a family friend of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Indicated of conspiracy in the Bofors reproach, Bachchan was latterly proved innocent.

Michael Hershman: He was a secret investigator that V. P. Singh had stationed when he was in the position of Finance Minister (1984-1987). they was the first to find suspicious payment transactions that appeared to be connected to the Bofors deal.

Ingvar Bratt: Key whistleblower who played an important role in the prosecution against Bofors.

Sten Lindström: Former head of Swedish police. Led investigations into the deal and later turned whistle-blower. 


  1. After the report of Sweden’s National Audit Bureau and a posterior report published by ‘The Hindu’ newspaper on companies dealing with trading in ordnance in India and the bank accounts related to the deal. It was after this that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India took on this case to probe further. In the year of 1989, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India came up with a report showcasing the serious errors related to the deal, and its fiscal part as well. Every gun had certain limitations and criteria in the form of General Staff Qualification Conditions for following regulations regarding the ordnance but in this deal these parameters weren’t prepared to make the deal imperfect. 
  2. France, Britain, Austria, and Sweden had different kinds of ordnance competing in the market. The Bofors gun’s burst blasting capacity had put it at the top position, better than all the ordnance in comparison. The Bofors had also lowered its price by nearly billions of bones. The disclosure of the commission paid by the Bofors had made India approach them to admit details about the quantum paid or to whom it was paid but it was difficult to recoup information from them. To recoup the information Bofors was communicated on the matter of cancelling the contract and blacklisting them. As soon as the Bofors had agreed to shoot their delegate to India to deal with the matter, the government headed by Rajiv Gandhi had for some unknown reason cancelled this and stopped Bofors from transferring any delegate to India. 
  3. The Bofors reproach had taken down the position of power from Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, and he had lost the general elections in 1989 to Mr. V. P. Singh. Mr. V. P. Singh’s FIR was redounded in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) taking on the case. The CBI had filed charges of many sections of laws and so on against several people and companies against which the main suspects were Mr Win Chadha, the top agent of Bofors in India, Mr Martin Abdo the former president of the company, Mr Hinduja the proprietor of Pitco/Moresco/Moineas SA, and Mr Ottavio Quattrocchi, an Italian businessman, for taking backhanders and indulging in corruption.
  4. Criminal proceedings needed information from the Swiss bank regarding the accounts where the Bofors had been paying for the mediator/middleman involved in the deal, it would also bear the sealing of those particular accounts. The strong case and the libellous deal had the authorities agree upon India’s demands and indurate the five accounts in the banks. In this process, it was also seen that a plutocrat from one of the frozen accounts had been transferred to a sixth account. The CBI had given a list of 18 names as fast as it could which had the probability of being the heirs of the alternate account. One of the lists had matched and later, the sixth account had been firmed as well. In 1990, the Swiss authorities had also agreed to share information with India on the accounts. still, this was opposed by desires filed in the Swiss federal court. 
  5. An advocate, Mr H. S. Chowdhary, had filed a review solicitation in public interest in the Delhi High Court for quashing the First Information Report filed by the CBI in 1990, and to also stop the rogatory letter to the Swiss courts. Mr. H. S. Chowdhary had claimed that it was his duty to uphold the rule of law as in the case against the Hindujas, booting the Joint Parliamentary Committee’s report was a step towards violating it. Justice M.K. Chawla has declined the issue of this solicitation and progressed to conduct the sounds.
  6. The appeals of all the indicted were dismissed by the Swiss Supreme Court. Ottavio Quattrocchi had left India in 1993 to no way return. This was followed by a non-bailable warrant issued against him, but he had in negotiation filed a plea for not appearing in an Indian court but this was as well refused by the Supreme Court. In the case of Ottavio Ouattrocchii vs Central Burea of Investigation (1998), Mr. Quattrochhi who was abiding at Kuala Lumpur had filed a petition against the non-bailable warrant that had been issued against him. This request for a warrant was because of Mr Quatrocchi’s alleged participation in the felonious conspiracy between public retainers and private persons in India and abroad relating to the relegation of large totalities of money and dealing in ordnance, towed vehicles and security known as the Bofors scam. Certain public servants and affiliated private persons had entered the backhanders. As per the investigation, the disquisition was the main suspect involved in executing the contract with AB Bofors in November 1985, and, with further help of Swiss authorities, the petitioner’s role in laundering plutocrats from several accounts had been revealed. But the petitioner had claimed that he had been falsely indicated, the F.I.R lodged didn’t even mention his name. It was further highlighted that the application filed by the CBI didn’t mention the offences as well. The provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act shouldn’t have applied to the supplicant as he wasn’t a public menial Also no similar offence had been reported or stated against the pleader that would call in for the application of the IPC 1860 But in the case, no substantial matter had redounded in the redundancy of this petition.
  7. In 2000, Win Chadda landed in India to face trial and seek authorisation to go to Dubai for medical treatment but this was rejected. Soon this was followed by a warrant issued against Mr. Ardbo. Indeed though the Hinduja brothers had claimed that they had no relation to the finances of the Bofors Deal charge sheet was filed against the Hinduja brothers and a report was also filed against Quattrocchi. In the month of December 2000 Quattrocchi was detained in Malaysia, but not for a long time. India wanted to carry out the repatriation/extradition of Quattrocchi but the Malaysian High Court had interdicted him. In 2005, it was also requested by the fresh Solicitor General of India, to dissolve the two bank accounts of Quattrocchi for substantiation of her inadequate substantiation to link the accounts to the Bofors lucre. 
  8.  On 6th February, 2007, Mr. Quattrocchi was detained in Argentina soon he was released but his passport had been taken down to help him from leaving the country. Due to the absence of a repatriation convention between India and Argentina, the Government of India has lost the case as they couldn’t give the crucial court order needed for Quattrocchi’s arrest, latterly on, the government did not indeed appeal against this decision as a lot of time had been wasted in rephrasing the court’s decision in English. Lack of substantiation had also led to the  Delhi court relieving  Quattrocchi from the case.  Indeed before this case could get over he had passed away by suffering from a heart attack in Milan. Along with this Justice R. S. Sodhi had repealed and cancelled all the charges against the Hinduja brothers in 2005 as well.
  9. In 2017, the BJP leader Ajay Kumar Agarwal challenged the Delhi High Court order dismissing the charges against all the indicted in the Bofors scam case due to lack of evidence. The main reason for challenging the order was the actuality of loopholes in the examination carried on at that time. A bench headed by the also Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had rejected this appeal pressing the unreasonability of the thirteen times of detention in the form of this appeal against the 2005 judgment of the high court. The grounds on which this appeal had been made were unreasonable and it didn’t explain the over 4,500 days’ delay in filing such an appeal.


The check of Bofors case was full of twists and turns. In 2004, Delhi High Court posthumously gave a clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi and said that there was no case of corruption against him or any public menial. This judgement stunned the CBI as it had pursued the case for 14 years and was a reversal to the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well. still, CBI said that it would dispute the judgement in the Supreme Court. 

In the year of  2011, a Delhi court gave permission to CBI to shut down/close the case. Later in 2012, Swedish Police Chief  Sten Lindstrom, who led the examinations and linked himself as the whistleblower said that Rajiv Gandhi had done nothing false and also declared innocent  Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and his family from any involvement in the reproach. rather, he accused the Swedish government of diverting finances marked for development systems to secure the deal by despising the rules and bypassing the institutions. 

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