India had signed a deal worth Rs 1,437-crore with Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors on March 18, 1986, for the delivery of 400 155 mm howitzer artillery guns for the Indian Army. Just slightly over a year after India signed on the dotted line, a Swedish radio channel claimed that huge amounts of money had been paid to Indian politicians and Defence Ministry officials in order to secure the contract. This scandal had rocked the Rajiv Gandhi government in the late 1980s. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a FIR in the case on January 22, 1990. In the FIR, the CBI named the President of Bofors Martin Ardbo, alleged middleman Win Chadda and the Hinduja brothers for cheating, criminal conspiracy, and forgery. Two other charge sheets were subsequently filed against the then Defence Secretary S K Bhatnagar, Bofors company, Hinduja brothers, Win Chadda, Ottavio Quattrocchi. Most of the prominent accused in the case such as Quattrocchi, Ardbo, Chadda and Bhatnagar are no more, according to an Indian Express report.
The Supreme Court on Friday had agreed to hear an appeal challenging an order passed by the Delhi High Court in 2005, which had acquitted the Hinduja brothers on the Bofors case. The plea challenging the acquittal was filed by advocate-turned-politician Ajay Kumar Agarwal. The plea had been heard by a three-judge Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, as per the Indian Express.
Agarwal had also filed an appeal in the case, in the apex court, against the 2005 order of the Delhi High Court which had acquitted the Hinduja brothers. That appeal had been filed after the CBI had failed to appeal against the order of the Delhi HC within the 90-day permissible deadline. This time the SC has allowed Agarwal to appeal in the absence of an appeal from the Central Bureau of Investigation, the case will be heard by the Supreme Court next month, as per the report.