Delhi court upholds CBI plea in Bofors scam, next hearing in Feb

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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New Delhi, Jan 6 (ANI): A Delhi court on Thursday upheld the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) plea that the notice served by the income tax tribunal on Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi was not linked with the criminal aspect of the Bofors scam.

The next hearing of the case is slated for February 10.

Dismissing an application in the Tis Hazari court, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav asked the investigating agency and the Centre to state whether there was any change in their stand seeking closure of criminal cases against Quattrocchi, the key accused in the Bofors scandal.

The court had on Tuesday reserved its order on the plea.

The CBI has stuck to its stand even after the income tax tribunal's order severely indicted Quattrocchi.

The CBI had pleaded before the court on Tuesday that the ruling of income tax appellate tribunal in Bofors pay offs case is 'nothing new' and its application for withdrawing the proceedings against Quattrocchi should be allowed.

However, the lawyer opposing the CBI plea, Ajay Agarwal, claimed he has proof that the CBI has a lot of evidence against Quattrocchi.

An income tax tribunal in its order issued earlier, indicated how much money Quattrocchi and Win Chaddha were paid by Bofors as bribes.

The kickbacks violated rules, as a middleman is illegal in defence deals in India. Therefore, Quattrocchi and Chaddha are liable to pay income tax on bribe money they got while living in India.

It also claimed that due to the kickbacks, India had to pay almost Rs. 160 crore extra for the guns.

The Bofors scandal was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB who were awarded the contract for the supply of 155 mm field howitzers.

The scale of the corruption was far worse than any that India had seen before, and contributed to the defeat of Rajiv Gandhi's ruling Indian National Congress party in the November 1989 general elections. (ANI)

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