May reopen Bofors scam case: CBI

| | New Delhi

Even as BJP leader and advocate Ajay Aggarwal   has moved an application in the Supreme Court for early hearing of the Bofors payoff case, the  CBI has told a Parliamentary Panel  that it may reopen the matter.

The CBI has made the submission before a six-member sub-committee on Defence attached to the Public Accounts Committee. The sub-committee is looking into non-compliance of certain aspects of the CAG report of 1986 on the deal.

Aggarwal said he has asked the Apex court for an early hearing and also to defreeze the case.  CBI has told the lawmakers it can reopen investigation into the case. The Law Ministry has to clear the decision.

Last month, most members of the panel had said the CBI must challenge in the Supreme Court the Delhi High Court's 2005 order quashing all the charges against the Europe-based Hinduja brothers and the Bofors Company.

The BJP leader, who had contested the Rai Bareli Lok Sabha elections in 2014 against Congress president Sonia Gandhi, claimed  that the Supreme court  was “favourably inclined”  to take up his plea that “ influential forces”  were blocking  reopening of the case.

“Early hearing ka case take up nahin hone dete. Teen , chaar baar aisa hua hai,” said the BJP leader informing that he has filed a SLP in the Supreme Court on August 5.

Recently , two BJP MPs  Meenakshi Lekhi and Nishikant Dubey also alleged  in the Lok Sabha  that no action was taken on documents received from Swiss Banks as they were  “locked in Government boxes” and that new media reports  again allude to a quid-pro-quo in the Bofors case. The two sought a fresh probe into the case by  the CBI.

Media reports this month quoted  Swedish chief investigator  in the Bofors Sten Lindstrom  as saying  that  payments were  made  at the top level.It has been alleged that  Rs 64 crore kickbacks were paid to  several persons during the Congress regime  when India signed a deal   with Sweden in 1986  to buy 410 155mm guns.

Aggarwal alleged that the agency did not challenge the Delhi High Court's judgement as the government  of the day did not want it to proceed further in the case.

He has challenged the judgement in the apex court which had on October 18, 2005 admitted his petition that was filed after the CBI failed to approach the top court with the appeal within the 90-day deadline after the High Court verdict. Aggrawal in his application has detailed  the sequence of events that led to the defreezing of the London bank account of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, alleged middleman in the deal, in 2006, for which the then Additional Solicitor General B Dutta had visited England.

He said such a step was undertaken despite the fact that the then UPA Government and the CBI were aware that his appeal has been admitted by the apex court.

Aggarwal also claimed that the CBI did not bother to inform the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, which was seized of the Quattrocchi matter, to inform about its move to defreeze the accounts.He said that on August 3, he had written a letter to the CBI seeking re-investigation of the entire Bofors scam and the trail of alleged bribe money deposited in Quattrocchi's London bank account and the subsequent developments after the defreezing of the account on January 16, 2006.

Aggarwal claimed that he would convince   the apex court through his petition that the “High Court had quashed the charges against the accused persons on technical grounds and the order was totally perverse which is liable to be set aside.”  



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