GENEVA; A new controversy surrounds a covering note by  Junior Swiss Foreign Minister Official which accompanied the former External Affairs Minister Madhavsinh Solanki memorandum to his Swiss counterpart Rene Felber on Bofors. The not sat: that Solanki handed over the memorandum “at the request of this accompanying note is a mysterious as Solanki memorandum.

The note went from the office of the Thomas Borer an official i the foreign ministry to Pierre Schmid chief of International Assistance in Criminal Mates Federal Justice Ministry. Rene on February 19 two weeks after Solanki had delivered it. It says: As arranged with our colleague we enclose herewith a copy of (the nothings) of our department (headed by Felber) on February 11992 a t the request of Prime Minister Ra

The note further advises the justice ministry that it might be useful to wait for a reply from the investigating authorities in Geneva to their leter before deciding what to do with Solanki note. The foreign ministry also requested the Justice ministry to keep the former informed about progress in the case

Sources said that the foreign ministry’s note along with Solankis memorandum were an to Schmid for further action An official at the International Law Desk drafted it after what appears to have been an internal discussion.

When confronted with the covering note Jorg Kistler a spokesman for the justice ministry said yes this note exists but there is absolutely no proof to say that the note was handed over at the request of Narasimha Rao.” When asked how the Indian Prime Ministers name was circulating in the investigating circles Kistler said I can only say that there is no proper explanation as to how his came   into the document. It could simply have been a narrow of interpretation

Christian Meuwly a spokesman of the foreign ministry said there was no indication whatsoever from the Indian side as to the origin of the memorandum except that it had come from Solanki himself Asked i explain how that position squared with the specific statement in the covering note linking the memorandum to Rao Meuwly said it could only be “the personal interpretation of a junior officer (sub-alter) in the federal administration.” Here iterated that Solank had given no indication of the memorandums origin and that Felber did not even open the envelope when he received it. Investigation by the Indian Ex press suggests that what had transpired between Felber and Solanki in February 1 neared a least three people in the foreign office before being transmitted to the justice ministry. Sources said that some accommodation should be made for “an error of incompletion” for the simple reason that Felber had met only Solanki at Davos. Rao has stated several times over the past month that Solanki was acting independently. As evidence of his “commitment” to the investigation he sent a message to the authorities here stressing that the matter should proceed. This was repeated after Solanki had resigned. However if Raos involvement was a matter of pure speculation within the Swiss foreign office it is a serious matter reflecting on more than just the Bofors case. For example is it common practice to note speculation about the origin of a document? If so who takes reasonability when such speculation assuming that i the case threatens to be.


Article extracted from this publication >> May 8, 1996