President Pranab Mukherjee is not known to utter blunders. But this time round, he has really put his foot in his mouth. He made a preposterous remark when he told Swedish daily Dagens Nyhetter that the Bofors case that rocked the Rajiv Gandhi Government in the late 1980s was not a ‘scandal’. “How could you say it is a scandal? You may have some doubts, you may have some suspicion, but that is not proof,” he said.
The indiscreet statement followed an equally unwarranted action: the Ambassador of India to Sweden asked the daily to delete parts of the interview in which the President spoke about Bofors. According to the daily, the envoy warned them that the Presidential visit to Sweden could be cancelled if they failed to do so. India now says the President didn’t expect a question on Bofors! How can one not expect a Swedish daily to ask questions about a mega scandal that involved one of its top defence contractors and India —and politicians on both sides?