Bofors case: SC dismisses CBI’s plea challenging acquittal of Hinduja brothers
An appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Bofors case challenging the acquittal of alleged middlemen Hinduja brothers was on Friday dismissed by the Supreme Court. The court cited that the intelligence agency delayed filing the petition for too long.
The CBI had filed an appeal on February 2 earlier this year challenging the Delhi High Court’s order in 2005 which had acquitted the Hinduja brothers – Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand – in the Bofors case. According to reports, the Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice KM Joseph dismissed the petition on the grounds that the appeal is time-barred.
The Bofors Case
In March of 1986, a Rs 1,437 crore deal was struck between India and Swedish Arms manufacturer, AB Bofors. The latter was to supply 400 Howitzer guns for the Indian Army. A year after the deal was struck, in April 1987, the Swedish Radio alleged that Bofors had been paying illegal bribes to several political and defence officials in order to secure the deal. As a result, the Indian government blacklisted Bofors from further supplying arms to India. The then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was also alleged to have received some pay-offs,
Following this, in January 1990, the CBI registered an FIR against Martin Ardbo, then president of AB Bofors, the Hinduja brothers, and Win Chadda, who was thought to be a middleman, on charges of cheating, forgery and conspiracy.
Several members of the Indian National Congress (INC) party came under fire for allegedly receiving a share of kickbacks as part of the deal. The Hinduja brothers, Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand, were accused of receiving a payment of 8.3 million USD in order to help secure the arms deal.