The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has informed the Centre that the agency was not permitted to file an appeal against the 2005 Delhi High Court order which acquitted the Hinduja brothers in the Bofors case by the Congress-led UPA government. The CBI made this clarification through a note sent by it to the Central Agency Section of the Department of Legal Affairs, which is a part of Ministry of Law and Justice. The note, dated, June 22 of this year, stated that the CBI did not file the Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the judgment of Justice R S Sodhi as it did not get permission from a competent authority, according to an Indian Express report.
The competent authority which takes decisions on appeals that are to be filed by the CBI is the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). The DoPT then approaches the Law Ministry seeking a specific opinion in the case. In the Bofors case, the CBI had specifically asked the government to give its opinions on challenging Justice Sodhi’s verdict in the case. CBI’s letter to the Department of Legal Affairs stated, ”The CBI was of the opinion that an SLP should be filed against the order passed by the Delhi High Court in the case on May 31, 2005. This order had quashed all proceedings against the Hinduja brothers. But, as permission was not granted by the competent authority, the SLP was not filed, as per the report.
Official CBI records available with the Indian Express reveal that almost all officers, with the exception of one, wanted an SLP to be filed in the case. The only officer who dealt with the case and was against the filing of an SLP was the agency’s Director of Prosecution SK Sharma, who had been deputed from the Law Ministry. SK Sharma had also put down that the limitation period for the case as September 19, 2005. The then CBI Director US Misra had in a single page document over-ruled the DoP an SLP, saying that all the officers involved in the case were in favour of filing an SLP, IE reported.