NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of the Bofors brokerage case of politically sensitive Rs 64 crore will not be heard on Friday as it has been removed from the debate, which contains information about matters of the day. The suit list till Thursday afternoon revealed that the petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was listed for hearing before the bench of Justice R. Bhanumati and Justice Indira Banerjee. The hearing was to be in the form of item number 43 in court eight. The case was dropped from the debate on late Thursday evening.
There was no mention in the list of another petition filed by BJP leader and advocate Ajay Agrawal. Agrawal said that after not mentioning this case in the debate list, when he contacted a top official, he was told that he was removed from the administrative order. Some law officials said that earlier this year, the CBI was fully prepared to debate on Friday in a petition filed after a delay of 13 years.
Attorney General K. Venugopal and newly appointed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta were to appear in the court on behalf of the CBI. In the petition filed by Agarwal, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh is appearing for CBI, who has been nominated as one of the respondents. The CBI filed an appeal on February 2 this year against the Delhi High Court's May 31, 2005 judgment. The High Court in its decision had canceled all charges against the accused in the case. The special permission petition (appeal) of CBI was dropped in seven blocks. This petition is 1,782 pages, including various attachments.
The investigating agency failed to file an appeal within the mandatory 90-day period, but Agarwal filed a petition challenging the order of the High Court on September 17, 2005. The CBI did not challenge the order of the High Court, as the then UPA government rejected the permission to file a special permission petition in the highest court. After this Agarwal filed this petition. Agarwal has contested elections from Rae Bareli against the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi in 2014.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have been pushing this issue for more than a decade. After much deliberation, the Central Government's NDA Government got approval to file an appeal in the Supreme Court this year. It is important to file an appeal because Attorney General Venugopal warned the investigating agency against filing petitions after more than a decade. After the consultation, the law officers were in favor of filing an appeal because the CBI had received some important documents and evidence to challenge the order of the High Court.
In February, sources told that the attorney general had given verbally consent to file an appeal in this case. In this appeal, in the October 2017 interview of private detective Michael Hershman, he was cited in which he alleged that the Congress government, led by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, had demolished his investigation. Harshaman, president of Fairfax, a US-based private detective firm, claimed in a television interview that Rajiv Gandhi was "angry" when he got the Swiss bank account "Mont Blanc". He also alleged that the bribe of Bofors scam was deposited in Swiss account.
The CBI had said in its appeal that further investigation is essential according to reports related to Hershman's interviews. CBI had filed an appeal against the High Court's May 31, 2005 order, in which all accused, including Hinduja brothers - SP Hinduja, GP Hinduja and PP Hinduja - were acquitted of Rs 64 crore in the brokering of Rs 64 crore.