Uproar in Parliament Over Bofors Issue, RS Adjourned

New Delhi
Uproar in Parliament Over Bofors Issue, RS Adjourned
Rajya Sabha today witnessed two adjournments in the pre-noon session after uproar by Opposition BJP and AIADMK over a former Swedish police chief's allegation that payoffs were made in purchase of Bofors guns during the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's tenure.

BJP and AIADMK members displayed copies of a newspaper interview given by Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom where he said Gandhi did nothing to prevent the cover-up to protect Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who is alleged to have received pay-offs in the case.

Chairman Hamid Ansari said the Question Hour will not be suspended and asked members to resume their places.

"Please allow Question Hour to proceed... The Question Hour cannot be suspended," he said and took up the first listed question of the day.

But as the opposition members were unrelenting, he adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

When the House met again, similar scenes were repeated with BJP members shouting slogans: "Quattrocchi ko kis ney bachaya (Who saved Quattrocchi)".

Ansari repeatedly asked the members to take their seats and raise the issue during Zero Hour. "Please sit down. Allow Question Hour to proceed. Raise the issue at 1200 hours," he pleaded with the agitated members.

Every time BJP members shouted "Who saved Quattrocchi", ruling Congress members joined the chorus shouting "BJP ney bachaya (BJP saved him)".

Mani Shankar Aiyar (Congress) said Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley was the Additional Solicitor General who had done paper work in the Bofors investigation case.

Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) said very serious questions have been raised by the former Swiss police chief while his party members continued shouting slogans.

Amid din, Ansari adjourned the House till noon.

The Lok Sabha also saw brief disruptions on the Bofors issue with Jaswant Singh (BJP) and Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) demanding suspension of Question Hour.

Speaker Meira Kumar's repeated pleas to raise the matter during Zero Hour found little favour with the members.

"I have received your notice. I will allow you to raise the matter during Zero Hour," the Speaker said.

As BJP members insisted that the Chair should hear the topic their colleague wanted to raise, Kumar called Singh to speak.

Singh said he wanted to raise the issue in the wake of "new and recent disclosures in the continuing saga of Bofors."

It has been 25 years now and an able and young Prime Minister had been linked to this controversy, Singh said.

The Speaker said that Singh can make a detailed statement during the Zero Hour.

Acharia also said that he be allowed to raise the issue which has been debated inside and outside the House, but the Speaker went ahead with the Question Hour.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned again till 2 pm.
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