CBI withdraws plea seeking further probe into Bofors case

Bofors case: The agency Thursday informed Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Navin Kumar Kashyap that a decision on future course of action in the matter will be taken by it at a later date. (file)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) withdrew from a Delhi court its petition seeking permission to further probe the Rs 64-crore Bofors payoff case, PTI reported on Thursday. The agency had moved the petition in February 2018 citing fresh evidence.

The agency on Thursday y informed Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Navin Kumar Kashyap that a decision on future course of action would be taken by it and wanted to withdraw the application for now.

Taking note of CBI’s stand, the 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 court on December 4, 2018 had questioned as to why the CBI required its permission to further probe the matter. CBI’s earlier plea challenging the acquittal of all the accused in the case was dismissed by the Supreme Court this year.

The Bofors deal dates back to 1986 when Indian signed an agreement with Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors for the supply of 400 units of 155-mm Howitzer guns to the Indian Army.

In April 16, 1987, the Swedish Radio had claimed that AB Bofors had paid bribes to top Indian politicians and defence personnel to secure the Rs 1,437-crore deal.

The CBI registered the FIR in 1990 against Martin Ardbo, the then chief of the company AB Bofors for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and other sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. FIR was registered against alleged middleman Win Chadda and the Hinduja brothers also.

The first chargesheet in the matter 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 in the case was filed against the Hinduja brothers on October 9, 2000. A special CBI court, on March 4, 2011, discharged Quattrocchi from the case, saying the country could not afford to spend hard-earned money on his extradition which had already cost Rs 250 crore.

With PTI inputs