Plea in Supreme Court seeks early hearing of plea against HC verdict in Bofors case [9.3.2024]

An application has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking an early hearing of a petition challenging the Delhi High Court's 2005 verdict which quashed all charges, including those against the Hinduja brothers, in the politically sensitive Rs 64 crore Bofors pay-off case.

The application, filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal, says the apex court had on November 2, 2018 dismissed the CBI's plea against the high court verdict and said the probe agency can raise all grounds in the appeal filed by him against the same judgement.

Agrawal said he had filed the petition in the top court against the high court verdict in 2005 itself and over three decades have gone by since the matter came to light.

"Around 16 years have passed of filing of this case by the applicant and 35 years have passed of the occurring of this scam. All the accused persons have died in between leaving Hinduja Brothers.

"There have been recurrence of scams in defence sector since the accused in this first ever scam i.e Bofors scam have not been punished. It is expedient in the interest of justice that the matter be heard at an early date," the plea said.

In its November 2, 2018 order, the top court had rejected the CBI plea seeking condonation of 13-year delay in filing the appeal against the May 31, 2005 judgement of the high court, saying it is not convinced with the grounds furnished by the agency.

"We are not convinced with the grounds furnished by the petitioner for the inordinate delay of 4,522 days in filing the present Special Leave Petitions," the apex court had said in its order.

The high court had in its 2005 judgement quashed all charges against the three Hinduja brothers -- S P Hinduja, G P Hinduja and P P Hinduja -- and the Bofors company.

Before the 2005 verdict, the high court had on February 4, 2004 exonerated former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the case and directed the framing of charge of forgery under section 465 of the Indian Penal Code against AB Bofors, formerly a Swedish arms manufacturing company which is now part of BAE Systems of the UK.

09 Mar 2024