This Article is From Jan 29, 2018

In Bofors Case, Government's Top Lawyer Advises Against Appeal

In a note, Attorney General KK Venugopal said the appeal will be rejected on the ground of such a long delay after the Delhi High Court order

In Bofors Case, Government's Top Lawyer Advises Against Appeal

Bofors scandal alleging payment of kickbacks led to the fall of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989.

New Delhi: The government's top lawyer has advised the Central Bureau of Investigation against challenging a 12-year-old order of the Delhi High Court, cancelling proceedings against the UK-based business magnates Hinduja brothers, and the Swedish firm, in the Rs 64-crore Bofors case.

In a note to the government, Attorney General  KK Venugopal  said the appeal will be rejected on the ground of such a long delay. Besides, no fresh points have emerged that would make the Supreme Court consider reopening the case.

It would also count against the agency's case that despite being in office for the last three years, the NDA government not appealed or moved a special petition, Mr Venugopal said in the note.

He advised the agency to remain a respondent in the case filed by Ajay Kumar Agrawal, a BJP member and advocate, who last year challenged the high court judgment in the Bofors case.  A dismissal of a separate petition by the CBI in the Supreme Court would prejudice this case, the note said.

In the first hearing of Mr Agarwal's appeal earlier this month, the top court questioned his locus standi. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said when the CBI has not filed any appeal, how could a private person file an appeal in the matter.

Last October, the CBI had indicated that it was considering an appeal against the High Court decision after Michael Hershman, a private detective from US-based firm Fairfax, alleged then Congress government led by Rajib Gandhi had sabotaged his investigation into the case.  

In interviews to a newspaper, Mr Hershman claimed that he was hired by then Finance Minister VP Singh to look into the alleged pay-offs into Swiss bank accounts. But Rajiv Gandhi had disapproved of the investigation and later, he received death threats, the investigator said.

The Bofors pay-offs issue is also expected to come up tomorrow before the Public Accounts Committee, a parliamentary panel that has asked the defence ministry to trace and share all the files on the matter.