Probe in Bofors payoff to continue, says CBI
New Delhi: The CBI on Thursday triggered curiosity when it withdrew its application from a Delhi court seeking permission to pursue its probe into the Bofors payoff case, but asserted later that the investigation would continue in the high-profile matter.
The CBI had moved the application on February 1, 2018 seeking further investigation in the case in view of “fresh evidence” in the case, which had once led to the fall of the Rajiv Gandhi government.
However, on Thursday it withdrew its application, creating a buzz.
Later in the day, the CBI issued a statement, saying, “The Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Rouse Avenue Courts in 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 (an) application is being filed in the Court.”
It added that “in view of certain revelations made by one Michael Hershman, CBI sought the permission of the court to conduct further investigation in the Bofors Case.”
The court had fixed the next date for hearing on May 16 (Today).
“After obtaining legal opinion, CBI filed an application on May 16 in the court stating that for conducting further investigation u/s 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,” said the statement issued by the investigating agency.
The agency had moved the Supreme Court on February 2, 2018 against the May 31, 2005 verdict of the Delhi High Court discharging all the accused in the case and to revive charges against the Hinduja Brothers in the Rs 64-crore payoff case.
The agency submitted that the Hershman, in an interview to TV channel, has stated that he was in possession of material which would show the payment of bribes in the Bofors deal.
In the interview, Hershman also “revealed” that the involvement of powerful persons might also be the reason for the diversified history of this case, the CBI had said.
On March 24, 1986, the Rs 1,437-crore deal between India and Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors for the supply of 400 155mm howitzer guns for the Indian Army was finalised.
Swedish Radio on April 16, 1987, claimed that the company had paid bribes to top Indian politicians and defence personnel.
The CBI registered the case on January 22, 1990 for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery against Martin Ardbo, the then president of AB Bofors, alleged middleman Win Chadda and the Hinduja brothers.