CBItell­sPar­lPanelitWantstoTake Bo­forsCase­toits‘Log­i­calCon­clu­sion’

Of­fi­cials said agency was de­nied per­mis­sion by then Cong-led govt to ap­peal against HC or­der

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: The Cen­tral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, which is likely to sup­por­t­ape­ti­tion­intheSupre­meCourt forre­open­ingth­eBo­fors­pay­of­f­case, has told a par­lia­men­tary panel that it wants to take the mat­ter to its “fi­nal and log­i­cal con­clu­sion”.

Top of­fi­cials at the probe agency con­veyed this po­si­tion ear­lier this week to a sub-com­mit­tee on de­fence at­tached to the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC). The six-mem­ber panel had last month sought CBI’s stance on re­open­ing of the case. It is look­ing into what is seen as non-com­pli­ance of cer­tain as­pects of a 1986 Comptroller and Au­di­tor Gen­eral re­port on In­dia’s how­itzer deal with Bo­fors. In­dia signs an agree­ment with Swedish firm Bo­fors for a $1.5 bil­lion sup­ply or­der for 155 mm how­itzers

Re­ports claim kick­backs paid to In­dian of­fi­cials and politi­cians to bag the deal as part of a larger in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Bo­fors op­er­a­tions world­wide. Within days, PM Rajiv Gandhi says no kick­backs paid, takes stand that deal is clean

The CBI brass had in Jan­uary this year de­cided to sup­port the pe­ti­tion by BJP mem­ber and ad­vo­cate Ajay Aggarwal to re­open the case, ET re­ported on Fri­day. The Gandhi led Cong govt loses the Lok Sabha polls

Ital­ian busi­ness­man Ot­tavio Qu­at­troc­chi, ac­cused in the case, leaves In­dia

For­mal case reg­is­tered into the Bo­fors scan­dal by the Cen­tral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI), Swiss ac­counts of ac­cused frozen Top gov­ern­ment sources told ET that the agency told the par­lia­men­tary panel that it was more than will­ing to re­open the case. The CBI also claimed that it had prop­erly CBI files first chargesheet, nam­ing Rajiv Gandhi as one of the ac­cused. Bo­fors al­lowed to bid for In­dian con­tracts again

Qu­at­troc­chi dies in Mi­lan. Most ac­cused in the case now dead as the case drags on in the Supreme Court in­ves­ti­gated the case, which had re­sulted in the fram­ing of charges against the ac­cused. The ac­cused were dis­charged by the Delhi high court in May 2005.

CBI of­fi­cials told the panel that the agency was de­nied per­mis­sion by the then Congress-led gov­ern­ment to ap­peal against the high court or­der. They said the agency will sup­port the SLP seek­ing the re­open­ing ofthe­case­when­it­come­sup­for­hear­ing. The Gov­ern­ment of In­dia is a nec­es­sary re­spon­dent in the pe­ti­tion and it has to con­vey its stand on the case in the Supreme Court. Gov­ern­ment sources ET spoke to said it will sup­port the de­mand to re­open the case.

Bo­fors hit na­tional head­lines in 1987. Ac­cu­sa­tions of bribes be­ing paid for buy­ing the Swedish a r t i l ler y g u n em­broi le d t he then prime min­is­ter, late Rajiv Gandhi, and late Ital­ian busi­ness­man Ot­tavio Qu­at­troc­chi.

ET has seen CBI’s files and not­ings since 2005 on the is­sue, which show that in 2006, the then di­rec­tor of pros­e­cu­tion (DoP), the law of­fi­cial re­spon­si­ble for su­per­vis­ing and con­duct­ing the agency’s cases, had ar­gued against fil­ing an ap­peal against the high court or­der. This changed in Jan­uary this year, when the DoP agreed with the agency’s top of­fi­cers.

Jan 1990:

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