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Sweden Called off Bofors Probe to Avoid Embarrasing Rajiv Gandhi, CBI Files Suggest

File image of Sweden made 155 mm Bofors artillery gun. (Image: Reuters)

The Swedish government called off the investigation into the Bofors bribery case in an effort to avoid embarrassing then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, declassified Central Intelligence Agency documents that were recently placed online suggest.

“Stockholm has since called off the investigation of Bofors’ bribery, probably in an effort to prevent future revelations of bribes to Indian officials that could embarrass Prime Minister Gandhi,” the document titled Sweden’s Bofors Arms Scandal: A Summary of the Diversions, Investigations, and Implications reads.

It further says that “Sidelight to the affair include the mysterious death of a customs official, a possible Iranian connection to the murder of Olof Palme and a surge in Swedish investigative journalism.” Olof Palme was the then Prime Minister of Sweden.

The document is dated 4 March, 1988 and is part of the largest collection of declassified documents placed online by the American spy agency, running to more than 12 million pages.

The document says that the Bofors case involves business transactions where Swedish arms manufacturers deliberately violated prohibitions on bribes to foreign officials. These include alleged kickbacks to Indian middlemen and officials in connection with New Delhi’s $1.5 billion purchase of 155mm Bofors howitzers.