CBI wants to reopen Bofors case: Here's a timeline of the scam
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to appeal for reopening of the Bofors case when the matter is in Supreme Court for hearing.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to ask for reopening of the Bofors case when the matter is in Supreme Court for hearing.
Earlier this month, an application for an early plea in the case was moved in the Supreme Court by BJP member and advocate Ajay Aggarwal, according to a report in The Economic Times.
In May 2005, the main accused in the Bofors case was discharged by the Delhi High Court. CBI was in favour of challenging the decision back then. But the then UPA government was not keen on it.
In July this year, BJP members in Lok Sabha said the case needed to be reopened and that Congress needs to support the investigation.
Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar had said that the scale of bribery in the guns case could be bigger than earlier thought.
What is Bofors case?
In April 1987, the Bofors gun case had come to light. On March 24, 1986, a multi-million dollar deal was signed between the Indian government and Swedish arms company Bofors to supply 410 155mm Howitzer field guns.
In 1987, a Swedish radio channel had revealed the scam involving top politicians in India. The radio alleged that kickbacks were paid to people.
It was alleged that the Swedish company had paid USD 640 million in kickbacks to politicians. More than 350 documents came in hand of journalist Chitra Subramaniam, revealing the payoffs to politicians.
An Italian businessman — Ottavio Quattrochhi — had allegedly played the role of middleman. Quattrochhi was said to be a close friend of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
In 1987, a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) was set up to probe the arms case. The first report was submitted in two years.
In 1990, CBI registered a case. However, the case slowed down after assassination of Rajiv Gandhi that year. VP Singh-led government then had also banned Bofors AB from entering any deal with the government.
Also, Swiss authorities froze accounts of Svenska and AE Services, who allegedly received payoffs from the deal.
In 1997, the Swiss Bank had released some 500 documents and the ban on Bofors AB was lifted.
In 1999, CBI had filed a chargesheet against Quattrochhi, Win Chandha - agent of the Bofors AB, Defence Secretary SK Bhatnagar and Bofors company. Chadha and Bhatnagar passed away in 2001.
In 2000, CBI also named Hinduja brothers in its chargesheet.
In 2002, the Delhi High Court decided to close the case. However, the Supreme Court reversed it in 2003.
In 2004, the CBI had cleared Rajiv Gandhi's involvement in the case.
In 2005, all charges against Hinduja brothers were dropped. The Delhi High Court had also reprimanded CBI for handling of the case, saying that it had cost exchequer nearly Rs 250 crore.
Following this, in 2006, the CBI had wanted to extradite Quattrochhi from Argentina. However, the government lost that case. In 2013, Quattrochhi passed away.In the last hearing in 2016, CBI said that authorities had not allowed it to appeal against the earlier verdict.