The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has withdrawn its application before a Delhi court seeking permission to further investigate the Bofors payoff case. The probe agency told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Navin Kumar Kashyap that it wants to withdraw the petition for now and will decide on further course of action, the PTI reported.
"For the reason best known to the CBI, in case they want to withdraw the application, they have the right as they are the applicants," the judge ruled.
The CBI had filed an application before the trial court on February 1, 2018 to probe the Rs 64-crore Bofors scam saying that it has come across fresh material and evidence. The court on December 4, 2018 had questioned as to why the CBI needed its permission to further probe the case.
The Indian government and Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors entered into a Rs 1,437-crore deal on March 24, 1986 for purchase of 400 155mm howitzer guns for the Indian Army. On April 16, 1987, Swedish Radio on April 16, 1987 claimed that the company had paid bribes to top Indian politicians and defence personnel to get the deal.
The CBI on January 22, 1990 registered an FIR against Martin Ardbo, the then president of AB Bofors, alleged middleman Win Chadda and the Hinduja brothers. They were charged with alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the India Penal Code and other sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CNBI FIR in the Bofors scam alleged that certain public servants and private individuals in India and abroad had entered into a criminal conspiracy between 1982 and 1987 in pursuance of which the offences of bribery, corruption, cheating and forgery were committed.
The first charge sheet in the case was filed on October 22, 1999, against Chadda, Ottavio Quattrocchi, the then defence secretary S K Bhatnagar, Ardbo, and the Bofors company. A supplementary charge sheet was filed against the Hinduja brothers -- S P Hinduja, G P Hinduja and P P Hinduja -- on October 9, 2000.
A special CBI court in Delhi on March 4, 2011, had discharged Quattrocchi in the case, saying the country could not afford to spend hard-earned money on his extradition which had already cost Rs 250 crore.
Quattrocchi, who had fled from India towards the end of July 1993, never faced prosecution in any Indian court. He passed away on July 13, 2013. Bhatnagar, Chaddha and Ardbo have also died during the course of this case.
(With PTI inputs)