CBI files plea in trial court for further probe in Bofors case

A view of CBI Headquarters, in New Delhi.  

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has moved an application before a Delhi court seeking a direction to allow it to go for further probe into the ₹ 64 crore Bofors payoff case, saying the agency had come across fresh material and evidence.

The application was moved before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ashu Garg on February 1, a day before the CBI filed a petition challenging the May 31, 2005 order of the Delhi High Court discharging all accused persons in the case.

The agency had also informed the apex court about the filing of the application in the trial court which has posted it for further deliberations on February 17.

“An application under section 173 (8) of the Code has been moved before the trial court which has been directed by the trial court vide order dated February 1 to be taken up for consideration on February 17,” the agency had said in its special leave petition (SLP) filed in the Supreme Court.


The probe agency had on Friday, February 2, 2018, moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s 2005 verdict acquitting all accused in the case.

The agency swung into action after the attorney general orally gave it a go ahead to file the appeal in the case in which it cited the October 2017 interview of private detective Michael Hershman, who alleged that the then Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government had sabotaged his probe.

The ₹ 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 IPC 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 — S P Hinduja, G P Hinduja and P P Hinduja — 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 ₹ 250 crore.

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

He passed away on July 13, 2013. The other accused persons who died are Bhatnagar, Chadda and Ardbo.

Justice R S Sodhi (since retired) of the Delhi High Court on May 31, 2005, had quashed the CBI case in the Bofors pay- off scam.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 11:08:49 PM |

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