Book Launch: ‘Honour Bound’, A Lawyer's Account of Bofors Case
Was Rajiv Gandhi innocent or guilty on Bofors? Sarosh Zaiwalla’s book Honour Bound may have an answer.
Sarosh Zaiwalla, noted London-based solicitor, who helped clear Amitabh Bachchan's name in the Bofors gun deal, is launching his book Honour Bound in New Delhi on Wednesday, 18 December.
According to Outlook Magazine, Zaiwalla shot to fame in the late '80s when he persuaded the Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nhyeter, to withdraw (and apologise for) its allegation that Amitabh held the mysterious sixth account in the Bofors' kickbacks. The 'victory' brought Zaiwalla closer to the Bachchans—Ajitabh and his wife, Ramola—whom he helped immigrate from Switzerland.
Latest from The Bofors Case
The CBI in May 2019 withdrew from a Delhi court its application that had sought permission to further probe the politically sensitive Rs 64-crore Bofors payoff case.
The agency told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Navin Kumar Kashyap that it wants to withdraw the application filed on 1 February 2018.
It had moved the trial court seeking permission for further probe in the matter saying it had come across fresh material and evidence.
Taking note of CBI's stand, the judge said:
“For the reason best known to the CBI, in case they want to withdraw the application, they have the right as they are the applicants.”
The court on 4 December 2018, had questioned why the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) required its permission to further probe the matter.
The CBI had also filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on 2 February 2018, against the 31 May 2005 verdict of the Delhi High Court discharging all the accused in the case.
The apex court had on 2 November 2018, dismissed CBI's appeal in which it had sought condonation of the 13-year delay in filing the appeal against the high court judgment.
The apex court had said that it was not convinced with the grounds of the CBI to condone over 4,500 days' delay in filing the appeal.
The Rs 1,437-crore deal between India and Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors for the supply of 400 155mm howitzer guns for the Indian Army was entered into on 24 March 1986.Swedish Radio on 16 April 1987 claimed that the company had paid bribes to top Indian politicians and defence personnel.
The CBI on 22 January 1990 registered the FIR for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the India Penal Code and other sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Martin Ardbo, the then president of AB Bofors, alleged middleman Win Chadda and the Hinduja brothers.
It alleged that certain public servants and private persons in India and abroad had entered into a criminal conspiracy between 1982 and 1987 in pursuance of which the offences of bribery, corruption, cheating and forgery were committed.
The first charge sheet in the case was filed on 22 October 1999, against Chadda, Ottavio Quattrocchi, the then defence secretary SK Bhatnagar, Ardbo and the Bofors company.
A supplementary charge sheet was filed against the Hinduja brothers -- S P Hinduja, GP Hinduja and PP Hinduja -- on 9 October 2000.
Quattrocchi, who had fled from India on 29-30 July 1993, never appeared before any court in India to face prosecution. He passed away on 13 July 2013. The other accused who died are Bhatnagar, Ardbo and Chadda.
(With inputs from PTI)
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