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Bofors case: CBI moves SC against Delhi HC order quashing charges against accused

CBI’s appeal assumes significance because recently the attorney general had advised against it after 12 years of delay.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2018 23:12 IST
HT Correspondent
The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing the Rs 64-crore Bofors pay-off case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing the Rs 64-crore Bofors pay-off case. (AFP File Photo)

Twelve years after Delhi high court discharged the UK-based Hinduja brothers and a Swedish firm in the Bofors case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the prosecuting agency in the case, has challenged the order in the Supreme Court citing new evidence.

In its appeal, CBI has informed the top court that it has decided to pursue the case and conduct further investigation in the wake of fresh evidence — the television interview of Michael Hershman, the president of the US-based private detective firm Fairfax.

Michael Hershman, in a TV interview in October last year, claimed that during his probe into violation of currency control laws by some wealthy Indians, he received leads indicating that Bofors had paid bribes through banks.

Hershman also offered to testify and help the Indian agencies in the Bofors case.

The appeal comes days after Attorney General KK Venugopal advised the government against approaching the top court in the matter. The law officer had said the petition was likely to get dismissed on account of the long delay in the case. The appeal has been filed much after the 90-day time limit fixed under the Supreme Court Rules. The CBI will have to give a “plausible explanation” for the delay. SC will proceed with the matter if only it is satisfied there was a genuine reason for the delay.

In its appeal CBI has heavily relied on the Hershman interview . “ To permit the proceedings to remain quashed in the light of this fresh development would be a travesty of justice,” reads the CBI appeal. The appeal says that unless the HC order is set aside, further investigations will be hampered.

The agency has also differed from the HC’s view that the Swedish documents CBI relied on were inadmissible under the Indian Evidence Act because they were neither original nor authenticated copies. It has been stated that the documents were public in nature and, therefore, should be construed as evidence under the law.

Venugopal had earlier advised the agency to remain represented before the top court as a respondent in the case filed by Ajay Kumar Agrawal, a BJP member and advocate, who had in 2005 itself challenged the judgment in the Rs 64-crore Bofors scandal

Read more | Fresh CBI appeal in Bofors case likely to be dismissed: AG tells govt