BJP leader Ajay Agrawal, the petitioner in the Bofors case in the Supreme Court, has written to Attorney General KK Venugopal urging him to direct the CBI to file reply affidavit in his appeal against the 2005 verdict of the Delhi High Court that acquitted Hinduja brothers and other accused in the Bofors case. The CBI has not filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the acquittal order of the high court. Therefore, Ajay Agrawal filed the appeal in his personal capacity.
When the appeal came for hearing on January 16, a three-judge bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra asked how a third party could maintain an appeal in a criminal matter. The matter was then adjourned to February 2 for hearing on the locus standi of Ajay Agrawal to challenge the acquittal.
While so, the Attorney General has rendered legal advice against the CBI filing appeal at a belated stage. He opined that there was strong likelihood of the appeal getting dismissed on the ground of delay, and such dismissal could prejudicially affect the other appeals challenging acquittal. So, he suggested it was better for the CBI to present its case as a respondent in the other appeal filed by Ajay Agrawal.
In this backdrop, Ajay Agrawal wrote to the Attorney General. He stated that the CBI had not filed any reply affidavit in the matter since 2005. He stated in the letter, “I have come to know that a wrong and motivated decision has been taken not to file any reply affidavit in the matter. I have to tell you very frankly that it is possible that some officers have connived with the accused persons and are bent upon to derail the case. It looks apparent that a decision has been taken at a junior level and is being ensured that the Bofors case collapses in Supreme Court. The officers responsible for this need to be identified and criminal proceedings be initiated against them who have connived with the accused persons to derail the matter.”
The Bofors scam, relating to allegations of corruption in procuring Bofors guns from a Swedish company, has rocked the Indian political scenario for a long time. The Delhi High Court had quashed charges against former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 2004. Later, Hinduja brothers were acquitted in 2005. In 2011, Italian dealer Ottavio Quattrocchi was also discharged by a trial court in Delhi.