New Delhi, May 16: The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) on Thursday said that the probe in the high-profile Bofors kickbacks case will continue even as Ajay Aggarwal, a private petitioner, told a CBI special court that he wanted to withdraw his plea seeking further probe in the case.
Advocate Ajay Aggarwal, who once spearheaded the case, on Thursday sought to withdraw his plea seeking further probe in the Bofors case. Talking to reporters later, Aggarwal said Bofors is already a deadwood in the wake of several delays in its investigation.
'The BJP does not want the investigations to conclude on Bofors; instead they want to delay it as much as possible for political and electoral gains,'he said.’
The CBI is acting under political pressure. In October 2017, they got a lead from the television interview of one private Swedish investigator who alleged that Rajiv Gandhi government stalled the investigations. They sat on the complaint for six months. In February 2018, they moved the CBI court to continue investigations, so far they have not done anything; it's already been nearly two years,'Aggarwal said.
On December 4, 2018, the court had questioned the CBI why it needed its permission to continue with the probe in the Bofors case. In February 2018, the CBI filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the May 31, 2005 verdict of the Delhi high Court discharging all the accused in the case.
In November 2018, the CBI failed to convince the apex court to reopen the case. It sought condonation of the 13-year delay in filing the appeal against the high court judgment. However, one of the appeals still survives in the Supreme Court, wherein CBI is one of the respondents.
Aggarwal had filed the appeal against the high court verdict, as CBI failed to file the appeal within the mandatory 90-days period. "The BJP has lost the conviction to allow any probe to come to an end in this case. For BJP, Bofors is an election pitch, and an issue that can be kept alive to draw people's attention especially during elections. The CBI is acting like a caged parrot for this particular case,'he said.
For many years, Aggarwal was the legal face of the BJP, who pursued Bofors at every level of judiciary in the country. He had contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from Rai Bareli against then Congress President Sonia Gandhi.According to him, Rs 4.77 crore has already been spent on the investigation of Bofors case.
Earlier, the CBI, in a statement, said,'the Court of CMM, Rouse Avenue Courts, New Delhi had observed on May 8, 2019 that when independent right and power is available with CBI to further investigate the matter on their own if in their wisdom it is necessary to do so then, why still such application is being filed in the Court.'
'After obtaining legal opinion, CBI filed an application on 16.05.2019 in the Court of CMM, Rouse Avenue Courts, New Delhi stating that for conducting further investigation under section 173 (8) Cr. PC, permission of the Court is not mandatorily required by CBI and an intimation to the Court in this regard will suffice”, the probe agency submitted.
On March 24, 1986, India and Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors entered into a deal of Rs 1,437-crore for the supply of 400 155mm howitzer guns for the Indian Army. In 1987, Swedish Radio claimed that the company had paid bribes to top Indian politicians and defence personnel to grab the deal.
The CBI on January 22, 1990 registered an FIR for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the India Penal Code and other sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Martin Ardbo, the then president of AB Bofors, alleged middleman Win Chadha and the billionaire Hinduja brothers. (UNI)