Bofors Case:CBI moves plea in SC against HC order quashing charges

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In Bofors Case CBI with new proof Hershman had claimed to have scooped out a Swiss account

NEW DELHI:MNN:The CBI today filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging a 2005 order of the Delhi High Court.
The CBI filed the appeal quashing all charges against the accused persons in the politically-sensitive Rs 64 crore Bofors case.

The CBI’s move came as a surprise as AG K K Venugopal had a few days ago advised against appeal, saying the 12-year delay could prove fatal for the agency’s case.

However, sources said that the law officers after consultation were in favour of the appeal as the CBI placed some important documents and evidence to challenge the high court order.

The CBI application in the trial court is based on recent revelations by Michael Hershman, head of an international private investigation firm engaged by the V P Singh government (Dec 1989 to Nov 1990) to probe the allegation that the Swedish manufacturer of Bofors guns paid Rs 64 crore as a bribe to bag India’s Rs 1,473 crore order for 400 155mm howitzers during Rajiv Gandhi’s prime ministership in 1986.

AG endorsed CBI plan after agency showed new proof
Hershman had claimed to have scooped out a Swiss account, Mont Blanc, in which the bribe money was deposited.

Sources said the AG revised his opinion and endorsed the CBI’s plan to challenge the Delhi HC’s order after the agency showed him new evidence emanating from Hershman’s statement.

A few days ago, the department of personnel and training had informed Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that the CBI was free to take a decision on whether to file an appeal.

The CBI said it was denied permission in 2005 by the then UPA government to appeal against the Delhi HC judgment discharging the Hinduja brothers — Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand — and told the SC of Hershman’s statement to a TV channel in October last year.

Though the CBI did not appeal against the HC verdict quashing the FIR and all proceedings relating to Bofors payoffs, the efforts of advocate petitioner Ajay Agrawal, who had challenged the HC verdict in 2005, kept the case alive in the SC.

Hershman had told a TV channel, We are looking at hundreds of millions of dollars, clearly what to us was bribe money, some of it coming from the Bofors deal in Sweden.

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