The Central Bureau of Investigation has written to the government seeking permission to reopen the probe into the Bofors case, PTI reported on Friday.
In a letter to the Department of Personnel and Training, the agency asked it to reconsider the government’s decision in 2005 not allowing the CBI to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the acquittal of the accused and the quashing of a First Information Report.
The Delhi High Court had quashed charges against the Hinduja brothers in the scam. The CBI, which had conducted an inquiry into the case, had not filed a plea seeking to quash the Delhi High Court order within the 90-day period.
The agency has asked the government to let it move the Supreme Court before it hears a 12-year-old appeal against the 2005 order, according to The Times of India. The matter is expected to come up for hearing on October 30.
The agency has often expressed interest in reopening the investigation in the recent past. On October 18, it had said it would look into the “facts and circumstances” of the Bofors scandal mentioned by private detective Michael Hershman. Hershman had told a television channel that the Rajiv Gandhi government had sabotaged his investigation in the case.
In August too, the agency had told a parliamentary panel that it may reopen the Bofors case.
The Bofors scandal
The scam dates back to 1980s and 1990s when the Congress was in power with Rajiv Gandhi as the prime minister. The Indian government had signed a $1.4-billion (Rs 9,568 crore approximately) defence deal with Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors for 410 field howitzer guns, and a supply contract in March 1986.
In April 1987, the Swedish Radio had claimed that the company paid bribes to senior Indian politicians and Army personnel to secure the deal. Gandhi was also implicated in the case.
In 1990, the CBI registered a First Information Report for criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code, as well as for corruption, against then-Bofors President Martin Ardbo, alleged middleman Win Chadda and the Hinduja brothers. The first chargesheet was filed in the case in 1999. A special CBI court in Delhi had in 2011 discharged Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi from the case.