Last ditch bid to abort CBI plea to close Bofors case made

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New Delhi, Feb 19 (PTI) A Delhi court, examining the CBIplea to close the case against Italian businessman OttavioQuattrocchi who allegedly received kickbacks in Bofors gundeal, was told today of all the reasons for which the agencywanted to challenge the Delhi High Court''s dropping of chargesagainst the Hinduja brothers and continue the case.

Lest the high court''s remark in its May 2005 ruling onHinduja brothers that probing the case has already cost Rs 250to the exchequer ends up influencing the trial court indeciding the CBI plea in Quattrocchi case, advocate AjayAgrawal, opposing the plea, said CBI itself had termed the HCremarks in the case as "superfluous."

Agrawal made his submission in a fresh application tothe court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav, whoreserved his judgment on the CBI plea for Monday.

During its last hearing on February 10 on the CBI plea,the trial court had indicated that the high court''s remarks onprobe into Bofors gun deal case costing Rs 250 crore toexchequer may be a significant factor in its ruling.

"There also seems to be a superfluous remark thatinvestigation (into the Bofors) case cost the exchequer nearlyRs 250 crores," said advocate Agrawal quoting the Bofors caseinvestigation officer and CBI''s erstwhile Superintendent ofPolice Keshav Mishra countering the high court''s observationin the 2005 ruling.

Agrawal pointed out to the court that Mishra had made hisremarks in an internal departmental evaluation of the highcourt''s ruling while exploring the grounds to challenge it.

The advocate also annexed his application with relevantextracts from the CBI''s internal notings.

Agrawal said he had been told by a former CBI Directorthat the figure of Rs 250 crores "may be 20 to 30 times morethan the amount spent on Bofors investigation and the actualfigure may be less than five crores or so".

"To say that a large amount of Rs 250 crore has beenspent on the investigation....is totally wrong and asuperfluous remark in the High Court''s order," Agrawal said inapplication.

The court had earlier asked the CBI to give a roughestimate of the amount being spent in the investigation ofthis case.

"Do we have any rough calculation how much money has beenspent on this case? Is the figure of around Rs 250 crore,mentioned in the Delhi High Court''s order, correct?," CMMYadav had asked the CBI. .

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