Judge’s observations on Bofors case

March 4th, 2011 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Here are some of the observations made by Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav Friday while accepting Central Bureau of Investigation’s report seeking to drop charges against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors kickbacks case.

* At this moment we have to end the case, therefore I allow the CBI plea to close the case.

* I think the CBI has moved this application to close this case after applying their minds, therefore there is no need of wasting public money in continuing the investigation.

* I am directing that the subject (Quattrocchi) be discharged of this extradition proceeding upon which his bail and all condition attached to the bail be also discharged.

* Heavy amount of money wasted on the investigation into this case and the case has not moved a inch for the past 25 years.

* Can we allow this hard earned money of ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) of India to be spent on these type of proceedings which are not going to do any good to them, after almost 25 years of the so called arms deal. The answer would be a big no.

* The law applicable in the matter, would reveal that despite spending through its nose for about 21 years, the CBI has not been able to put forward legally sustainable evidence with regard to conspiracy in the matter.

* The very question which stares us at our faces is whether it is justified for the government and CBI to continue to spend on the extradition of “Q”, which may or may not ultimately happen during his lifetime.

* Now, this court will have to judge the application from the point as to whether the learned special prosecutor has exercised his executive function properly and examined the matter in its entirety and has applied his mind in good faith and bonafide manner; as also to examine the grounds taken for withdrawal of prosecution against “Q”.

* So far as the allegations that Shri. Rajiv Gandhi requested the Swedish Prime Minister (Olof Palme) to desist from holding an enquiry in April, 1997 it is of no significance as it was done on account of a decision taken by the Cabinet Committee of Political Affairs after deliberating the issue that since the Joint Parliamentary Committee was going to enquire into the matter it would be not proper for officers of the ministry to meet the Bofors’ officers.

* It is not the case of CBI that Bofors or Hindujas or Quattrochi or (Win) Chadha had accepted the bribe money on behalf of the public servants under the garb of commission and that the bribe money allegedly paid by the Bofors was retained by Hindujas or others as custodians. Until and unless the money in the account of Hindujas and others is related to the bribe money to the public servants, charge for abetting in receiving the bribe punishable under section 161 read with section 165A IPC cannot stand or stick.

* Similarly, Quattrocchi also held the money in his own account and had been transferring part of monies in different accounts opened by him. To allow the imagination to fly that AB Bofors paid bribe to public servants through Hindujas, Chadha and Quattrocchi, to get the contract and in return they held the amount of alleged “commission” paid by AB Bofors as a trust for more than a year or so is nothing but to deceive oneself. This itself rends the CBI’s case from foundation to cornice.

* The only argument of the CBI is that presumption should be drawn that the haste with which the contract was awarded was a result of the conspiracy between Hindujas, Quattrocchi, Bofors and the public servants to award contract in favour of Bofors prior to the visit of Rajiv Gandhi to Switzerland.

* The prosecution has not brought anything on record as to what different role was played by the members of the Negotiating Committee than the role played by Mr. (S.K.)Bhatnagar. Thus, the element of dishonest intention is utterly wanting.

* The learned Additional Solicitor General emphasized that in future no other country would allow the extradition application of government of India because of aforesaid two precedents of two different countries, who at the time of considering extradition applications considered the merits of the case as well.

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