New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today described the quality of Swedish Bofors guns as “good” but refused to comment on remarks attributed to President Pranab Mukherjee that the controversy surrounding its acquisition was a “media trial”.
“I can only certify that Bofors guns are good. I do not make any statement on President's statement. If you ask me about quality of Bofors guns, then they are good,” Parrikar told reporters here.
Mukherjee was quoted, wrongly, by a Swedish daily as saying, “First of all - it is yet to be to be established that there was a scandal. No Indian court has established it. I was the defence minister of the country long after Bofors, and all my generals certified that this is one of the best guns we are having. Till today, Indian army is using it.
“The so-called scandal which you talk of, yes, in the media, it was there. There was a media trial. But I'm afraid, let us not be too much carried (away) by publicity.”
However, the video of the interview shows no such comments being made by the President, who is scheduled to visit Sweden next month.
The scandal of procurement of 155mm howitzer field Bofors guns plagued the Rajiv Gandhi government in the late 1980s and became a big election issue in 1989 in which the former Prime Minister had to face defeat.