New Delhi, 2 Nov The Supreme Court Friday dismissed the CBI’s appeal against the Delhi High Court’s 2005 verdict discharging all the accused, including Hinduja brothers, in the politically-sensitive Rs 64 crore Bofors pay-off case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi rejected the CBI plea seeking condonation of the 13 year delay in filing the appeal against the May 31, 2005 judgement of the high court.
It said it was not convinced with the grounds of the CBI to condone over 4,500 days’ delay in filing the appeal. The CBI had filed the appeal on February 2 this year.
The apex court, however, said the CBI can raise all grounds in the appeal against the same high court verdict filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal who has also challenged the judgement.
The top court has already admitted the petition filed by Agrawal who had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election against then Congress president Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareilly.
Attorney General K K Venugopal asked the top court to make it clear in its order that dismissal of CBI appeal would not preclude the probe agency from carrying out investigation in the case.
The apex court, however, did not mention anything in its order on this issue.
The high court in its 2005 judgement had quashed all charges against the three Hinduja brothers — S P Hinduja, G P Hinduja and P P Hinduja — and others under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
After the NDA government came to power, there were speculations that the CBI would take a call to either respond as respondent in Agrawal’s petition or prefer a separate appeal.
After lot of deliberation, the CBI this year got the nod from the NDA government to file an appeal in the apex court.
The filing of the appeal assumes significance as Attorney General K K Venugopal in January had advised the agency against moving a petition against the high court verdict after a delay of more than a decade.
Later, after consultations, law officers were in favour of the appeal as the CBI came out with “some important documents and evidence” to challenge the high court order.