New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation to withdraw its application seeking permission to further the probe in Bofors case. Even private petitioner Ajay Aggarwal sought withdrawal of the plea in the politically sensitive Rs 64-crore Bofors payoff case. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for July 6.
After the CBI informed the court of its decision to withdraw the plea, the Delhi High court judge said, “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 agency also told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Navin Kumar Kashyap that it wants to withdraw the application filed on February 1, 2018.
The CBI had also filed an appeal in 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.
The apex court had on November 2, 2018, dismissed CBI’s appeal in which it had sought condonation of the 13-year delay in filing the appeal against the high court judgment. The apex court had said that it was not convinced with the grounds of the CBI to condone over 4,500 days’ delay in filing the appeal.
However, one of the appeals is still alive in the apex court in which CBI is one of the respondents and the top court on November 2, 2018, said that the agency can assist in the matter as respondent. The apex court said the CBI can raise all grounds in the appeal against the high court verdict filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal who has also challenged the judgement.
Agrawal, who has now become a rebel BJP leader after he was denied Lok Sabha ticket from Rai Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, in 2005 had challenged the high court verdict after the CBI did not file the appeal in the mandatory 90 days period.
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 entered into on March 24, 1986.
Swedish Radio on April 16, 1987, claimed that the company had paid bribes to top Indian politicians and defence personnel. The CBI on January 22, 1990, registered the 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 Chadda and the Hinduja brothers. (With agency inputs)