Bofors vs Rafale, scam vs scam?

Chitra Subramaniam speaking at Chit Chat on Bofors and Rafale seminar in Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) at The Lalith Ashok in Bengaluru on Sunday. Chidanand Raighatta is seen. Photo by S K Dinesh

Is there a scam in the Rafale deal? For Chitra Subramaniam, renowned for her expose of the Bofors scandal that brought down a government, the key to that question lies in “investing in an investigation by a media house.” 

In conversation with senior journalist Chidanand Rajghatta at the Bangalore Lit fest, Chitra explained why: “Because that investigation will not come from the government. What is more important is what the evidence shows. There will always be a money trail.” 

Rajghatta recalled how Chitra’s work had set the standards for investigative journalism. But that was Bofors, and comparing that with the Rafale case, was like ‘chalk and cheese’ for Chitra. “For Bofors, there was a paper trail. There were court cases in Sweden, there were account numbers, diaries, handwritten notes,” she said. 

In the Bofors case, the then prime minister had stood accused. “There was a political payoff. In Rafale, haven’t seen that political link. But if somebody has a good lead, they should follow it up. Did politicians make money in the Rafale deal, that is what you need to probe.” 

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