The CBI on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the 2005 Delhi High Court verdict discharging Britain-based Hinduja brothers – Srichand, Gopichand and Prakash Hinduja – in the case of alleged corruption in the purchase of Bofors 155 mm howitzers guns.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its plea against the 2005 high court verdict had cited some new facts that need to be investigated as a ground for the reopening of the Bofors case.
Though CBI cited “new facts” but it will have a difficult task in persuading the top court to entertain its plea after sitting over it for 12 long years.
Earlier, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had told the government that, in his opinion, it will be faced with the difficulty in justifying the delay of over a decade in moving the top court against 2005 Delhi High Court order.
In a letter to the Secretary, Personnel, Venugopal said: “Now, more than 12 years have elapsed. Any SLP filed before the Supreme Court at this stage, in my view, is likely to be dismissed by the Court on account of the long delay itself.”
He had, in his opinion, said that the record did not reveal any significant events or special circumstances which could be said to constitute sufficient cause for not approaching the Supreme Court within the 90 days permitted by law, or at any time thereafter in the last so many years.
However later, said sources, Venugopal gave his oral consent to the probe agency’s move to challenge 2005 order.
The 2005 High Court order discharging the Hinduja brothers was challenged by lawyer Ajay Agrawal, who is associated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
During the hearing of the plea by Agrawal on January 16, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh told the court that there was no appeal by the CBI against the 2005 order as it was advised so, though adding that the judgment ought to have been challenged.
The top court had in the same hearing also asked Agrawal to satisfy it on his locus as a third party to challenge an order in a criminal case as it noted that CBI which investigated the case did not contest the High Court order.
Agrawal’s matter was listed for further hearing on Friday but it did not reach as post lunch session was consumed by the hearing on plea seeking SIT probe in judge B.H. Loya’s death.
The Rajiv Gandhi government (1984-89) was rocked over the allegations of kickbacks in the purchase of 155 mm Howitzers guns from the Swedish arms manufacturer.
The CBI had on January 22, 1990, registered an FIR for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the provisions of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Martin Ardbo, the then President of AB Bofors, alleged middleman Win Chadha and the Hindujas.