Delhi court pulls up CBI in Bofors scam case

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (ANI): A Delhi court on Thursday criticized the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) saying that the Bofors case had not moved an inch in the last 25 years.

The Tis Hazari court asked the investigating agency whether there was any account of how much money had been spent in the case.

"We have not moved an inch in the last 25 years. Do we have any account of how much money is being spent on this case? Is this figure of Rs. 250 crore, as mentioned by the Delhi High Court, correct? Can you give a rough figure?" the Tis Hazari court asked.

"It is not possible to give this figure at this point. We did not tell the High Court about the money spent," the CBI said in its reply.

The remarks of the court came during a hearing of whether the CBI should withdraw its case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, the prime accused, in the Bofors pay-off case despite the Income Tax tribunal's revelations that he and late Win Chaddha got kickbacks in the deal.

Earlier on January 6, the court upheld the 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.

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.

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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