As far as possible all the names were given. The information available was also given. On 26th of January, 1990, the Swiss Minister of Justice froze six accounts......
AN HON. MEMBER: Did he seize them?
SHRI GEORGE FERNANDES: Not seized, but froze them-you can call it anything. But he stopped them from beig operated. One account belonged to AE services and three accounts namely lotus, Tulip and Mont Blane belonged to Moresco. While freezing them, sixth account was found, about which the Swiss authorities raised some questions, They said that they have detected an account of which there is no mention in our F.I.R. and that the names given by us, do not tally with
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the names in their possession. Subsequently, they asked us for some more names, on which they could take action. So, three more names were given and we were not asked about the antecedents of the names and nor do I intend to mention those names here, but three names were given out of which they identified one name and froze that account.
The money in these accounts are for higher than the amount that we estimate is involved in the Bofors scandal. Further, this is not limited to Bofors only, it is much beyond that an widespread and the V.P.Singh Government did its best to bring the guilty to book.
Then, in May 1990, the Cantonal Court in Zurich gave its verdict to the effect that the documents pertaining to A.E. services be handed over to the Government of India. An appeal was made against this ver- dict, on which a decision was taken on November 13, but on November 7, our Government fell. Today we would like to know the contents of the documents, which were handed over to you, as per the verdict of the Swiss Supreme Court. Please tell as why the Government is not ready to place the documents on the Table of the House?
Now, on July 3, the Cantonal Court at Geneva took objections to the fact that there were-some technical mistakes in the French translation of the documents, which were orginally in English. The mistake was duty rectified and when an appeal on this letter rogatory came before the Supreme Court at Geneva, it passed a verdict which brought into light the name of Shri H.P. Hinduja. Now, the scope of this case extends beyond A.E. services to Moresco and even to Svenska.
I need not mention here the names of the account holders for this issue was discussed at length in this august House and the hon.
Members are in possession of the relevant information. Moreover, all these records are available in the library and everyone is free to refer
639 Discussion under
[Sh. George Fernandes)
to them. So, as I said, I don't want to raise this matter once again.
However, it is a well known fact that Win Chaddha is the proprietor of the Svenska Company, which has its headquarters in Panama and has three women as its Directors. Regarding these three women, the J.P.C.
report States that
"They are women of no means."
They have no assets.
So, they are three women of no means
and they themselves have said that except for a post box number, they have nothing.
They are three women of no means but with a post box number.
They receive Rs. 269.1 million kroners, which is equivalent to Rs. 135 crores as Commission or whatever you call it. As per the exchange rates mentioned in today's newspapers, one kroner is equiva- lent to Rs. 5.30, according to which they get Rs. 135 crores.
Yes, then it will be more.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, A.E.Services has
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got two Directors, whose names I need not mention here, but their capital is one British pound, which is equivalent to Rs. 44/and the remaining 98 shares belong to a benami company in Hong Kong. A.E.
Services received 252.3 million kroners, which in Indian currency amounts to Rs. 126 crores. The third company involved in this is Moresco, about which I made a reference earlier. It has in its account 252.3 million kroners, which again is equivalent to Rs. 126 crores in Indian currency. It we add the entire money involved, it would amount to Rs. 400 crores. Now, in this, I know that the entire amount has not been paid, but it is very difficult to say how much has ben paid and how much remains to be paid, because as per the agreement the entire amount was to be paid by 1990. In 1987, this scandal was exposed by the Swedish Radio, followed by Swedish and Indian newspapers. These facts were exposed by those newspapers, which are detested by the Government and which have been accused by the latter of working with the motive of `destabilising it. Thus, as per the information at my disposal, Rs. 225 crore, as per the present exchange rate have already been paid and Rs. 125 crore remains to be paid.
Please excuse me for claculating the amount as per the existing exchange rates. I am doing so because the money is still lying in Swiss banks and Swedish banks. This matter cannot be resolved in the manner in which -we propose to do it. If the Government adopts the policy enunciated by Shri Bansal, then the money that would be brought to India or anywhere else include Rs. 225 crore, which has already been paid and also Rs. 175 crore. Thus, we have the answer for the repeatedly asked questions on the whereabouts of the money. I don't want to say anything more on this subject.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, now that this matter has been taken up for discussion, I am
641 Discussion under
happy that at the outset of his submission, the hon. Minister of Defence had stated that-
"in the past few days, several Hon. Members have sought to know the latest position in respect of the investigations in the Bofors case, specially in the context of -certain reports which appeared in a Swedish newspaper, in February 1992 and subsequently in our newspapers,-
Sir, generally newspaper reports are not allowed to be raised in the House, but I am happy that the hon. Minister of Defence himself began his submission, with a reference to newspaper reports. I am pleased to find that the Government has accepted that newspaper reports too carry weight, contain facts which need to be discussed in the House and which can have' far-reaching implications. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to specifically mention the name of Mr. Anderson, the correspondent, who despatched this report and congratulate him for once again raising this issue from Sweden. To Shri Bansal's allegations that it is a political conspiracy aimed at destabilising the Government, I would like to state that Shri Anderson is a journalist working for Dagens Nyheter, an influential Swedish daily and I believe that he has nothing personal against the Indian Government or any Indian Political party for that matter. This issue is not only discussed in Sweden, but also widely written about.
Perhaps the hon. Members may not be aware that they have come out with a 1,000 page report on this subject, in Swdish language and it is available here. Henry Westender had written this book in the Swedish language a year back and now it has been translated and published Bofors gun deal 642
in India. I would like this book to be referred to, while discussing this issue. We would also like the people to read it so that they find answers for some of the questions raised here. Otherwise, this debate would proceed directionless, if facts pertaining to Bofors and other related matters come to light one after another and in the process we too would have difficulty. Therefore, it is my request that when an issue is discussed, some thinking should go into it and answers should be provided to the questions raised here.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, we would like to have some clarifications, some details with regard to certain matters mentioned by the hon.
Minister of Defence in his submission. It is clear from his statement that the Government has not taken* any action on this issue in the last seven months. In fag end of last year, i.e. August or September, this proposal was sent to the Swiss banks. There after, the Government has refrained from taking any concerete action in that regard. Recently, you had sent one D.S.P. to that place and we won't dismiss this matter lightly because a controversy has been raised about the matters and questions he raised there, the people whom he met there. etc. The Statesman, in its issues dated march 25 and March 26, had frontpaged the contents of the discussions that the D.S.P. had with the Swiss officials and the response he got from them and also the information pertaining to these matters and the developments taking place there in this regard, possessed by Shri C.R. Irani of the same paper. I would specially request the hon. Minister of Defence for he made a reference to newspaper reports to pay his attention towards these newsitems, For then, the gravity of the issue and the steps taken by the Government in the last seven months, which is sought to be explained here in this statement, would become clear to him and the entire House.
643 Discussion under
[Sh. George Fernandes]
[MR. SPEAKER in the Chair]
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw your attention specially towards the second sentence of the statement. When the decision of the Supreme Court was sent to the officials of Switzerland, then there was no reason for Win Chandha, who should be behind the bars according to Indian laws, to intervene in the case and play the tricks to kill the time by misusing the laws and courts of our country in several ways...
SHRI NITISH KUMAR(Barh): Mr. Speaker, Sir, Shri Kalp Nath Rai is sleeping --- (Interruptions)
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE (Bolpur): Sir, you put some energy into the Energy Minister.
MR. SPEAKER: He is contemplating that.
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: But whether he will be able to do that.
SHRI GEORGE FERNANDES: I would like to know from the Minister of Defence as to what was the need of sending this document to the officials of Switzerland on behalf of the Government? What did you want to convey? You have stated in it that you have told them to pursue the case seriously. But why don't you accept that the Government has never said so. S.P., D.S.P. of our C.B.I. say to the Minister of Law, the Attorney General and all other
Bofors gun deal 644
officials of Sweden that they seriously want to proceed with this case. But the Government had not been sitting silence during these seven months. By sending Win Chaddha's petition you want to convey that you too do not have any objection if mater progresses slowly and reaches no conclusive end. I want that all the facts in this regard should be placed before the House. As far as I understand, their intention is not good. Foreign Minister's resignation is its final proof. I would like to know from the Prime Minister whether he really want us to believe his former Foreign Minister, whom his Minister of Defence still calls Foreign Minister although he has resigned.
He says: "The hon. Members are aware of the statement made by the External Affairs Minister. The External Affairs Minister has already tendered. I thought his resignation-his personal explanation in the matter and expressed his regret to the House.'
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (SHRI SHARAD PAWAR): That was before.
SHRI GEORGE FERNANDES: This is the statement of today.
I would like to know from the Prime Minister whether he really believes that the persons, in whom he confided, made him Foreign Minister to make the Indian policies known to the World, and who was his trusted senior colleague, goes to Dowas and meets Switzerland's Foreign Minister just before that somebody gives him a letter to hand it over to Switzerland's Foreign Minister. He does the same and comes back. Do you really believe this story? I doubt it. I do not believe that our former Foreign Minister handsover the note given 645 Discussion under
by an advocate to the Foreign Minister of Switzerland and he does not know who the advocate was. I would like to request the Defence Minister to ask the Foreign Minister whether his name was Jaiwala.
Perhaps he may remember the name, as he had said that he had forgotten the name.
SHRI SHARAD PAWAR: He was not.
SHRI GEORGE FERNANDES: You said that he was not. But you can order an enquiry ... (Interruptions) ... Jaiwala is Hinduja's Lawyer.
SHRI AMAL DATTA: He is also a lawyer of the Government of India who has now sued the Government of India for more than a crore of rupees which the Government of India owes him.
SHRI GEORGE FERNANDES: We have understood something more with this additional information. I don't think that we should take this case of handing over a note to Switzerland Government lightly. Whenever we travel by International Airlines and even domestic flights we are asked:
Have you checked your baggage? Is this your own baggage? Have you checked it yourself?
All this asked. The Foreign Minister is handed over a letter but he does not know who gave him the letter and for what purpose. We cannot accept it here in the House. it is very difficult to believe.
So I request the Prime Minister specialty to
Bofors gun deal 646
immediately get this letter back from Switzerland Government and authenticate it immediately. They are also authenticating it.
Otherwise any other lawyer can come into the picture try to send his own, So to avaoid any such eventuality the Prime Minister should order his secretariat to get it back from Switzerland Government till the debate is completed. It can be received back before the completion of the detabte and all of us can know the facts. So this document should be brought here to remove out apprehensions and also the question mark on the Government's intention. Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all, I would like to refer to the name of Shri Madhvan who was investigating into this case. Why did you remove Madhvan? While he was on leave and you withdrew this case from him and there was no new posting for him. You handed over the case to a person about whom I would not like to say any thing but Shri Amal Datta has said just now that.
Official undertaker of all the investigations.
It means he works to bury the investigation. Why did you withdraw this case from Madhvan? I request that Shri Madhvan should again be given the responsiblity to carry on the investigations and Government act inaccordance with the opinion of the House. I would like to make one more request to the Prime Minister. The Government is killing time by way of initiating legal proceeding in all the courts. It is right that Indian constitution provides you this chance. This case is pending in Supreme Court, high court and even in lower courts. Government's lawyers are just killing the time in all these courts and filing petitions after petitions. You are wasting the money
647 Discussion under
[Sh. George Fernandes]
for one who is out of India and also wasting the courts time. You are creating hurdles in finding the solution to the real issue.
Therefore, I would like to request that the Government should Lake the decision to dispose off all the suits which have been lying pending in various courts of India or the Government should move to the Supreme Court for all these pending cases.
I would like to urge one more thing. This issue published by Irani Sahib in "Statesman" as a report does not uphold the prestige of India Government. He has mentioned the names of the high officials of the Switzerland and you also know the names of some of them. One of them said that the officers and political leaders of India telephone them, send messages that the Government of India cannot officially request them to blow down the investigation totally to stop there, but fact government favoured it.
This discussion has been started on the basis of newspaper reports. Whatever has been published in newspapers, you should understand the sense of it. You attach authencity to the news published in foreign newspapers but you ignore the Indian newspapers.
If it appears in foreign newspapers, You would consider- it a very serious matter but when it appears in Indian newspapers, you would take it as useless and false, The reports say that the Swedish officials who have received such telephone calls from Indian side have recorded it with names of the persons time and date arid so all this information is fully recorded. if this matter is raised again in the world press, then it would not be in the interests of this country.
Therefore, I would like to state that you should take some concrete decisions in this respect.
Bofors gun deal 648
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have put forth some of our demands. I would like to put other 2 3 concrete points before the Prime Minister.Since I have given a resolution under Rule 184 and it is before YOU. YOU have allowed me to move it after it after the debate is over. You know the subject matter of the resolulion...
MR. SPEAKER: I have not said anything in this regard, you
yourself are saying it..
SHRI GEORGE FERNANDES: " Having discussed all aspects of the matter pertaining to the Bofors weapons deal, this House hereby resolves that the Government should take immediate steps to see that all proceedings currently pending before the Swiss authorities or courts are pursued expeditiously and with vigour in order to establish the truth and find Out the names of the recipients of the bribes.
This House further resolves that the Prime Minister send a message to the Swiss Government to the effect that any other messages or communications...'