Bribery, Bofors and the Hinduja brothers

CORRUPTION CASES are nothing new to India. In recent times some cases have been pursued vigorously and quite a few have been indicted, but the judicial system gives the rich and powerful umpteen loopholes.

Bribery cases include former governments buying off opposition MPs to vote for the government on financial bills but nobody has been put behind bars.

In the £9.14 million kickbacks scandal known as the Bofors scam, Swedish arms firm AB Bofors supplied 400 howitzer field guns to India’s armed forces.

A routine audit accidentally found out that a huge kickback was paid to the McIntyre Corporation in Panama, which was opened by the Hinduja brothers’ Zurich-based lawyer Dr Rippmann.

A long investigation suggested that the kickbacks were paid in to the brothers’ secret coded accounts in Switzerland. The Hindujas’ stalling of the investigation confirms to many their involvement – and their clout in Europe and elsewhere.

Only after Ottavio Quttrochi, an Italian fixer and confidant of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was arrested for his involvement in the Bofors scam did the Hinduja Brothers’ worldwide business interests start acting as victims.

The Hindujas mainly amassed their wealth by being middlemen in arms deals with neo-colonial countries. They have controlling stakes in Ahok Leyland and Indus (Global) bank. They’re very close to infamous arms dealer Adnan Kashogi and other shady characters.

India’s present capitalist BJP-led regime made a lot of noise about the Bofors scam when in opposition, and many present-day cabinet ministers shot to fame by their zealous pursuit. It will probably be a wild goose chase in the end, as there are high stakes involved in this case.

The Hindujas threw a party four days after they got the passport to celebrate the British legal system. Some day soon, the brothers may be praising India’s judicial system while the rich and corrupt look on, applauding.

It will be up to the socialists organised in the Committee for a Workers’ International, (to which the Socialist Party is also affiliated) to expose these fixers and middlemen.

It’s their profit system, capitalism, which breeds corruption and sustains it on the backs of the working people by super-exploitation.

Jagadish Chandra, New Socialist Alternative, CWI India