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Bofors: CBI to continue probe

Bofors: CBI to continue probe

New Delhi: The CBI on Thursday said that it will continue its probe into the Bofors case pertaining to the alleged Rs 64 crore kickback in the purchase of Swedish artillery guns, officials here said.

This comes after the agency earlier in the day withdrew an application seeking permission from a Delhi court to further investigate the case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation cited section 173 (8) of the Criminal Procedure Code, saying that the court's permission is not mandatory to conduct further investigation and that an intimation

to the court in this regard is sufficient.

The agency had filed the application in Febraury last year seeking permission from the trial court for further probe in the matter saying it had come across fresh material and evidence after revelations made by US-based private detective Michael Hershman.

CBI Spokesperson Nitin Wakankar said that on May 8, the court had questioned why the application seeking permission was filed in the first place, when the agency had independent right and power to proceed with the investigation, if it thought necessary.

He said that subsequently, the agency had filed an application in court on Thursday, withdrawing its application seeking permission and intimating the court that

it will continue with the investigation.

Taking note of CBI's stand, the judge said: "For the reason best known to the CBI, in case they want to withdraw the application, they have the right as they are the applicants."

The CBI had also filed an appeal in the Supreme Court in February 2, 2018 against the May 31, 2005 verdict of the Delhi high Court discharging all the accused in the case.

The apex court had on November 2, 2018 dismissed CBI's appeal in which it had sought condonation of the 13 year delay in filing the appeal against the high court judgment.

The apex court had said that it was not convinced with the grounds of the CBI to condone over 4,500 days' delay in filing the appeal.

However, one of the appeals is still alive in the apex court in which CBI is one of the respondents and the top court on November 2, 2018 said that the agency can assist in the matter as respondent.

The apex court said the CBI can raise all grounds in the appeal against the high court verdict filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal who has also challenged the judgement.

Agrawal, who has now become a rebel BJP leader after he was denied Lok Sabha ticket from Rai Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, in 2005 had challenged the high court verdict after the CBI did not file the appeal in the mandatory 90 days period.

The agency had swung into action for a permission for further probe in the case after the Attorney General had orally given it a go ahead to file the appeal in the case in which it cited the October 2017 interview of private detective Michael Hershman, alleging that the then Rajiv Gandhi government had sabotaged his probe.

Justice JD Kapoor (since retired) had in 2004 exonerated the late prime minister in the case and directed the framing of charge of forgery under section 465 of the IPC against Bofors company. And in 2005, the Delhi High Court quashed the CBI case in the Bofors pay-off scam.

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