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CBI seeks permission from government to reopen Bofors probe

NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday sought permission from government to reopen its investigation into the Bofors scam.

The agency, sources say, has written to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) asking it to “reconsider” 2005 decision taken by then UPA government of not allowing the central anti-corruption agency to file a special leave petition (SPL) in the Supreme Court challenging acquittal of accused and quashing the probe.

CBI has, for past few months, showed its willingness to reinvestigate Bofors scam by informing Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament, the apex court and the law ministry that it was not allowed by then UPA government in 2005 to challenge the Delhi HC order of Justice R S Sodhi dated May 31, 2005, in which all charges against Hinduja brothers – Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand – and the Bofors company were quashed, while criticizing the agency that its probe had cost the exchequer about Rs 250 crore.

According to the sources, CBI has asked DoPT to allow it to move Supreme Court, before the apex court itself takes a stand in the matter on an SLP filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal.

The matter will come up for hearing in the SC on October 30.

The CBI Director Alok Verma recently told the PAC that the agency was willing to reinvestigate the Bofors if the centre allows it, after the sub-committee of PAC asked Verma to put up the case regarding “systemic failure” in the Bofors contract as well as charges of bribe taking that made the deal a political scandal in the late 1980s.

The agency informed both SC and PAC that it wanted to file a SLP against the 2005 HC order but then government didn’t give permission to do so.

CBI has claimed that almost all officers who dealt with the Bofors case including then CBI Director U S Mishra were of the view that an SLP should be filed against the quashing of charges in the SC. Only then Director of Prosecution S K Sharma had opined against filing an SLP.

The development comes even as the agency also recently claimed that it would look into the “facts and circumstances” of the Bofors scam mentioned by private detective Michael Hershmam, who alleged that the then Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government had sabotaged his investigation. Hershman, who is the president of the US-based private detective firm Fairfax, claimed in television interviews that Rajiv Gandhi was “furious” when he had found a Swiss bank account “Mont Blanc”.

Meanwhile, Agrawal, in a letter written to Cbi Director Alok Verma few days back has sought to register an FIR and probe nexus between Robert Vadra and fugitive arms-dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

Source : timesofindia



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CBI seeks permission from government to reopen Bofors probe

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