Supreme Court has refused to reopen the Bofors case. This is because there was a 13-years delay in filing of appeal by CBI.
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the appeal filed by the CBI on Rs 64 crore Bofors pay-off case. This was against the Delhi High Court’s 2005 verdict discharging all the accused including Hinduja brothers who were accused of being the middlemen in the deal.
Petitioner Ajay Agrawal had approached the court with his plea 13 years later. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it wasn’t convinced with the grounds cited by him. In the normal course, such appeals had to be filed within 90 days. However, there is another appeal in Supreme Court which it is hearing against this high court verdict.
The Supreme Court further said that the grounds given by CBI to overlook 4,500 days delay in filing appeal are not justified.
“We are not convinced with the grounds furnished by the petitioner in explaining the inordinate delay of 4522 days in filing this SLP (appeal). We notice that in the criminal appeal filed by the complainant (Ajay Agarwal) CBI is a party and will be entitled to raise all pleas at the time of hearing,” the bench said.
The Delhi high court had quashed all charges against the three Hinduja brothers and the Bofors company in 2005. It also criticised CBI over its handling of the case. It said that this has cost the exchequer about Rs 250 crore.
On March 18, 1986, India signed a Rs 1,437-crore deal with Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors for the supply of 400 155 mm Howitzer guns for the Army. Bofors deal was also first highlighted by foreign media which was later picked up by Indian media. This also lead to weakening of Congress party’s ground in India.