NEW DELHI, India, July 5, Reuter: Top opposition leaders met Indian President Ramaswamy Venkataraman on Tuesday to demand a new probe into charges that Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors paid huge commissions to clinch a 1.3 billion dollar deal.

An all-party delegation of more than 20 MPs said in a memorandum to Venkataraman that a fresh and impartial inquiry was needed after recent reports in the Hindu newspaper. ,

In recent weeks the Madras based newspaper has reproduced documents which it said proved commissions were paid to secure the deal for the supply of 155 MM Howitzers.

A Parliamentary inquiry in April dismissed charges, first aired last year by a Swedish radio station, that bribes had been paid.

Opposition leaders have accused officials of taking bribes before concluding the deal, the biggest single export order secured by a Swedish firm.

The memorandum said’ the Hindu had produced’ clear evidence that commissions had been’ paid.

It said Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his government had misled the country and had concealed facts about the Bofors deal.

The Bofors scandal, a major. Electoral handicap for Gandhi has. Become a rallying point for the Indian opposition.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 8, 1988