On the direction issued by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is currently looking into pending reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is planing to write to the government seeking its permission to reopen investigations into the Bofors scandal, Times of India has reported.
In 1987, the Swedish Radio revealed that arms manufacturing company Bofors paid kickbacks, amounting to Rs 640 million, to key defence officials and top Indian politicians to secure a defence deal. One of those accused was India’s then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who allegedly enjoyed close ties with the Gandhi family, was also involved in the scandal.
In 2009, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government told the Supreme Court about decision to withdraw case against Quattrocchi. The apex court gave the CBI permission to withdraw the case against him in 2011. UPA-II was in power then. In December 2016, the CBI informed the Supreme Court that it was refused permission to appeal against a high court order in the case by the then UPA government.
Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab, who is heading a sub-committee examining the pending reports, has asked CBI director Alok Verma if the case can be pursued afresh. Verma is believed to have said that the agency will require Centre’s permission and would get back to the committee in two weeks.
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