India signed the deal to buy the Bofors 155 mm howitzers in March 1986
The Supreme Court today dismissed the CBI's appeal against the Delhi High Court verdict discharging all the accused including the Hinduja brothers in the Bofors case.
A top court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said it was not convinced with the reason the Central Bureau of Investigation gave over the delay of over 12 years in filing the appeal.
The top court, however, said an appeal against the same high court verdict filed by advocate Ajay Agarwal is pending and the CBI can raise all grounds in it.
"We are not convinced by the grounds by the petitioner in explaining the inordinate delay of 4,522 says in filing the appeal. We notice in the criminal appeal filed by the complainant CBI is a party and it will be entitled to raise all pleas at the time of hearing," the Supreme Court said.
India signed the deal with Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors to buy 400 units of the 155 mm Howitzer guns in March 1986.
The CBI filed the appeal in February against the 2005 verdict of the Delhi High Court, which had quashed all charges against the Hinduja brothers — Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand — in the Bofors scam.
The CBI cited new evidence in the Bofors case after a television interview of Michael Hershman, president of US-based private detective firm Fairfax, in October last year said that during his investigation into currency control law violation by some wealthy Indians, he received leads indicating that Bofors paid bribes through banks.
Mr Hershman also offered to testify and help the Indian agencies in the Bofors case.
The appeal was filed despite Attorney General KK Venugopal's advice not to appeal in the top court, citing the long delay in the case. The appeal was filed much after the 90-day time limit fixed under the Supreme Court rules.