The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked BJP leader and advocate Ajay Agrawal to explain his locus in filing an appeal in the politically-sensitive Bofors pay-offs case and wanted to know how a criminal case could be reopened at the instance of a third party.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra wondered how a private person could file an appeal in the matter when the CBI has not filed any appeal in the apex court challenging the May 31, 2005 Delhi High Court judgment quashing all charges against Hinduja brothers and the Swedish arms manufacturing company AB Bofors.
“When the prosecutor has remained silent, why should we go into it? The occurrence took place in 1986. Thirty-one years have passed, nobody challenged it. You are a third party and you have to satisfy us on this issue,” the bench observed. Agrawal, who contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Rai Bareli against former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, had filed the special leave petition in the apex court against the 2005 high court order.
The bench also questioned Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the CBI, “You have not filed an appeal in the last 12-13 years. What do you propose to do now?”
Singh replied that though CBI had not appealed against the high court order, SLP was filed by private parties involved in the case and subsequently withdrawn.
He said after the High Court quashed all charges in the case, there were deliberations on whether to challenge the decision of the high court or not.
However, after Agrawal filed the appeal, CBI has been appearing in the matter as one of the respondents, he said. The apex court posted the matter for hearing on February 2 saying, “we expect the petitioner (Agrawal) to argue the matter on the next date of hearing and argue the parameters on grant of leave”.