Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav on Thursday upheld the CBI plea that the tax notice served on Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi was not linked with the criminal aspect of the Bofors kickbacks scam.
The magistrate dismissed an application asking the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the central government to state whether there was any change in their stand seeking closure of criminal cases against Quattrocchi, one of the alleged recipients of bribes from Sweden's Bofors company.
The ruling came three days after the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal ruled sensationally that Quattrocchi and his Indian partner Win Chadha did take commissions of over Rs.412 million in the 1986 Bofors gun deal.
The court said it was satisfied with the CBI stand that the IT order dealt with a tax issue and not the criminal aspect of the case.
On Tuesday, the CBI counsel was asked if they had got any fresh directive from the government in the light of the tribunal order.
The CBI had in 1999 charged former defence secretary S.K. Bhatnagar, Quattrocchi, Chadha, former Bofors chief Martin Ardbo and the company in the kickbacks case that played a key role in the defeat of the Congress party in the 1989 Lok Sabha election.
Bhatnagar, Ardbo and Chadha are dead. Quattrocchi - who has never appeared before any court in India - is the only surviving accused.
The CBI has failed on two occasions to get Quattrocchi extradited -- first from Malaysia in 2003 and then from Argentina in 2007. It then said there was no real purpose in going ahead with the case.