Attorney General KK Venugopal is likely to meet senior CBI officers before giving a legal opinion on whether the agency should file a petition in the Supreme Court on the Bofors case, a senior government functionary has said.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has sought legal opinion from the AG on the CBI’s request that it be allowed to file a special leave petition (SLP). A meeting may be held so that the agency can clarify its stand on the case.
The AG would then be in a position to give his opinion on whether the apex court could be approached, the functionary said.
In a recent letter to the DoPT, the CBI said it wanted to file an SLP challenging the Delhi High Court order of May 31, 2005, quashing all charges against Europe-based Hinduja brothers in the Bofors case. The DoPT has sought the AG’s opinion on this.
A government official had earlier said the CBI was in favour of filing the SLP in 2005 but did not get a go-ahead from the then UPA government to do so.
Legal experts felt the agency would have to explain why there was a gap of over 12 years before the filing of an SLP.
Then Delhi High Court judge RS Sodhi had on May 31, 2005, quashed all charges against the Hinduja brothers — Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand — and the Bofors company and castigated the CBI for its handling of the case, saying it had cost the exchequer about Rs 250 crore.
Before the 2005 verdict, another judge of the Delhi High Court, Justice JD Kapoor (since retired), had on February 4, 2004, exonerated late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the case and directed the framing of a charge of forgery under Section 465 of the IPC against the Bofors company.