Supreme Court rejects CBI plea challenging clean chit to Hindujas in Bofors case

PTI
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Nov 02, 2018, 12:34 PM(IST)

File photo: Bofors scandal. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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The Rs 1,437-crore deal between India and Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors for the supply of 400 155mm Howitzer guns for the Indian Army was entered into on March 24, 1986.

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed CBI's appeal against the Delhi High Court verdict discharging all the accused including Hinduja brothers in Rs 64 crore Bofors pay-off case. The CBI had filed the appeal in February this year after a 13-year delay against the Delhi High Court decision quashing charges against all the accused.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it was not convinced with the grounds of the CBI on the delay in filing the appeal.

The apex court, however, said that an appeal against the same high court verdict filed by advocate Ajay Agarwal is pending and the CBI can raise all grounds in it.

Before the 2005 verdict of Justice R S Sodhi (since retired), another judge of the Delhi High Court, retired Justice J D Kapoor, had on February 4, 2004, exonerated the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the case and directed the framing of charge of forgery under section 465 of the IPC against Bofors company.

The Rs 1,437-crore deal between India and Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors for the supply of 400 155mm Howitzer guns for the Indian Army was entered into on March 24, 1986.

Swedish Radio on April 16, 1987, had claimed that the company had paid bribes to top Indian politicians and defence personnel.

The CBI on January 22, 1990 had registered the FIR for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and other sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Martin Ardbo, the then president of AB Bofors, alleged middleman Win Chadda and the Hinduja brothers.

It had alleged that certain public servants and private persons in India and abroad had entered into a criminal conspiracy between 1982 and 1987 in pursuance of which the offences of bribery, corruption, cheating and forgery were committed.

The first charge sheet in the case was filed on October 22, 1999 against Chadda, Ottavio Quattrocchi, the then defence secretary S K Bhatnagar, Ardbo and the Bofors company.

A supplementary charge sheet was filed against the Hinduja brothers on October 9, 2000.

A special CBI court in Delhi on March 4, 2011, had discharged Quattrocchi from the case saying the country could not afford to spend hard-earned money on his extradition which had already cost Rs 250 crore.

Quattrocchi, who had fled from here on July 29-30, 1993, never appeared before any court in India to face prosecution. He died on July 13, 2013.

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