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

The CBI said it wanted to file an SLP challenging the Delhi High Court order of May 31, 2005, quashing all charges against Europe-based Hinduja brothers in the case.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2018 10:56 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bofors case,Attorney General,CBI
This file photo shows artillery men firing a 155mm Bofors gun.(AFP File Photo)

Attorney general KK Venugopal has advised the government to dissuade the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from filing a fresh appeal in the Bofors gun case, saying the plea was likely to be “dismissed by the court” on the grounds of long delay.

The country’s highest law officer said in his letter, seen by the Hindustan Times, to the department of personnel and training that there were not enough reasons to request the Supreme Court to overlook the delay.

“Now, more than 12 years have elapsed. Any SLP (special leave petition) filed before the Supreme Court at this stage, in my view, is likely to be dismissed by the court on account of the long delay itself,” Venugopal wrote.

“It is worth noting that the present government has been in position for more than three years now. In the circumstances, the long delay in approaching the court will be difficult to satisfactorily explain to the court,” he said.

Sources in AG’s office confirmed that Venugopal had written to the government but refused to share details.

The CBI declined to comment immediately.

The investigating agency had in October 2017 sought the government’s permission to challenge in the Supreme Court a 2005 Delhi high court order quashing all charges in the Rs 64-crore Bofors gun pay-off case.

“We asked the government to reconsider its earlier decision of not allowing the agency to challenge the HC order in the top court,” a CBI official said at that time.

The decision was taken when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance or UPA was in power.

The CBI, sources said, wanted to file an SLP but couldn’t go ahead because it didn’t have the government’s nod.

The high court on May 31, 2005, quashed all charges against the Hinduja brothers -- Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand -- and the Bofors company and criticised the probe agency for its handling of the case, saying it had cost the exchequer about ?250 crore.

India and the Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors on March 24, 1986, agreed to a Rs 1,437-crore deal for the supply of 400 155mm Howitzer guns for the Indian Army. A year later, the Swedish Radio claimed the company had bribed Indian politicians and defence personnel.

First Published: Jan 29, 2018 20:17 IST