India Abroad

‪‎Bofors Scandal: India‬ Wanted Swedish Newspaper To Retract Pranab Mukherjee's ‪‎Bofors Comment

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| May 27 , 2015 , 16:16 IST
[caption id="attachment_43501" align="aligncenter" width="700"]President Pranab Mukherjee said the Bofors arms scandal of the 1980s was more of a “media trial" President Pranab Mukherjee said the Bofors arms scandal of the 1980s was more of a “media trial"[/caption]

Swedish newspaper Dangens Nyheter (DN) has alleged that the Indian envoy to Sweden had tried to get President Pranab Mukherjee's comment on the Bofors arms-deal scandal retracted, even going to the extent of warning that the upcoming state visit of Mukherjee was “at risk of being cancelled”.

“In a telephone conversation with DN prior to the publication of the article the Ambassador made a direct request that DN was to retract sections of the interview mentioning Bofors. She also warned that the planned state visit was at risk of being cancelled,” the report in Dangens Nyheter newspaper says.

Mukherjee, who is scheduled to start his visit to Sweden on invitation of the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf, the first by an Indian President, on coming May 31, 2015, said in the interview to Dangens Nyheter that the Bofors arms-deal wasn’t a scandal, but rather a ”media trial”.

In the interview to Peter Wolodarski, editor-in-chief of Dagens Nyheter, the Indian President said that no Indian court has yet given its verdict on the Bofors issues and therefore, it could not be called a scandal.

”I am not describing it. You are putting that word. Don’t put that word”, Mukherjee told DN’s editor in chief Peter Wolodarski during the interview in Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, in New Delhi.

Now the newspaper has said that on Tuesday it received an official letter from the Indian ambassador in Stockholm, Banashri Bose Harrison, where she expresses “disappointment” in the interview and said that the paper neglected to show the President the “courtesy and respect” that he deserves as head of state.

http://issuu.com/focusnews1/docs/indian_envoy_to_sweden_letter?e=17506327/13130203

"“In a telephone conversation with DN (Dagens Nyheter) prior to the publication of the article, the Ambassador made a direct request that DN was to retract sections of the interview mentioning Bofors. She also warned that the planned state visit was at risk of being cancelled,”  a report posted on the newspaper's website said.

The report quotes Wolodarski as having told the Ambassador Bose Harrison “...that we couldn’t accept her demands. The president became engaged and was upset when Bofors was mentioned during a question regarding how we can avoid corruption today. Of course we had to tell our readers about his reaction”.

“The reactions in Indian media show that his answers are of public interest, even more so in India than in Sweden,” the reports quoted Wolodarski.

At the end of the interview DN light heartedly mentioned the fact that the President mixed up Sweden and Switzerland several times. The Indian Ambassador said that it was ”unprofessional and unethical” thing to do by the newspaper. She also claims that DN, by shortening a video interview from six minutes to three, misled the audience.

”I find the Ambassador’s reaction regretful. It is surprising that someone representing the world's largest democracies is trying to micromanage which questions we should ask a head of state, and which answers should be published”, says Peter Wolodarski.

Bofors was the first arms scandal that rocked India during former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's tenure and led to his defeat in the 1989 general elections. It has been alleged that Swedish arms manufacturing company Bofors paid $640 million as kickbacks to secure a $1.3 billion contract to sell 410 howitzers to the Indian Army.

Bofors Gun Deal: Complete Timeline Of A Scandal That Pranab Says ‘Yet To Be Established’ - OddPad.com

[…] Source: Focus News […]

Bofors Gun Deal: Complete Timeline Of A Scandal That Pranab Says 'Yet To Be Established'

[…] Source: Focus News […]