NEW DELHI: The CBI has sought the Modi government’s permission to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to reopen the probe into the Bofors scandal, twelve years after the then UPA regime blocked the agency from doing so.
Government sources said the CBI had on Wednesday, through a communication to the Department of Personnel and Training, sought reconsideration of the decision denying it permission to file an SLP against Delhi High Court’s 2005 order quashing proceedings in the case. If the Centre gives the CBI the go-ahead, the Bofors probe can be reopened.
The move comes days before the hearing on an SLP filed by Advocate Ajay Agarwal, challenging the 2005 Delhi HC order in the Bofors scam. As CBI has been made a respondent in Agarwal’s SLP, it will have to take a stand before the apex court during the next hearing, sources said.
The CBI is of the view that an SLP should be filed in the apex court. “A proposal was forwarded to the Director (Vig), DoPT, on September 8, 2005. The DoPT vide its order dated November 25, 2005, denied permission for filing an SLP in the matter. Accordingly, no SLP was preferred,” the CBI had told the Public Accounts Committee’s sub-committee on defence earlier this year. The panel is looking into non-compliance of certain aspects of a 1986 CAG report on the Bofors Howitzer gun deal.
On May 31, 2005, Delhi HC had quashed all charges against the three Hinduja brothers — Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand – and the Bofors company named as an accused in the case. The court had also castigated the CBI for its probe that had cost the exchequer nearly `250 crore.
Before that, on February 4, 2004, the high court had exonerated late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the case and directed that forgery charges under IPC Section 465 be framed against Bofors.
In 1990, the CBI had filed an FIR for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act against the then President of AB Bofors, Martin Ardbo, alleged middleman Win Chadda and the Hinduja brothers, among others.
What the 1990 CBI FIR says
In the FIR, the CBI had alleged that certain public servants and private individuals in India and abroad had entered into a criminal conspiracy for the supply of Howitzer artillery guns and that H64 crore was paid as kickbacks to seal the deal. Among those who are named in the FIR include AB Bofors, Martin Ardbo, Win Chadda and the Hinduja brothers