Notwithstanding the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal's order that stated Rs.41.2 crore was paid as kickbacks to the late Win Chadha and Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors gun deal, the CBI on Tuesday reiterated its stand to close the case in the public interest.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav had scheduled the case for pronouncement of judgment on the CBI's closure report but deferred it when advocate Ajay Agarwal urged the court to have a fresh look at it in the wake of the Tribunal order. Additional Solicitor-General P.P. Malhotra said there was nothing new in the Tribunal order as all the details mentioned in it were referred to in the charge sheet too. When the CMM asked Mr. Malhotra if he had got any fresh instruction after the Tribunal order, he replied in the negative.
Mr. Agarwal said the Union Law Minister gave a statement, saying the government would have a fresh look at the case in the light of the Tribunal order. When the CMM sought a reply from Mr. Malhotra, he said he was not aware of any such statement.
The CBI has sought closure of the case on five counts. It said 23 years had passed from the date of the alleged offence and more than 10 years elapsed after the registration of the case; (b) all the co-accused had either died or proceedings against them quashed, including against Messrs A.B. Bofors and the alleged beneficiaries of the contract for supply of Bofors guns, by virtue of the judgments of the Delhi High Court, and no appeals were preferred by it either against the order of Justice (retd.) J.D. Kapoor or the judgment of Justice (retd.) R.S. Sodhi of the Delhi High Court; (c) even though there is an undertaking by Messrs A.B. Bofors prior to entering into the contract that they do not have any representative/agent specially employed in India, the original contract does not provide for any prohibition for employment or non-employment of Indian or foreign agents and full payments in regard to the contract were paid to Ms. A.B. Bofors even after the lodging of an FIR and no steps to recover any monies were adopted against them; (d) in view of the judgment of Justice Kapoor, any allegation of corruption or conspiracy with regard to public servants is knocked out; (e) and in any event, the attempts to secure the presence of Mr. Quattrocchi had failed.