Bofors case: Defence Ministry has said it could not submit Action Taken Notes (ATN) on two key paragraphs of the CAG report on the Bofors deal in 27 years as it did not have the relevant files, according to The Indian Express. A sub-panel of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab was apprised by Defence Ministry. The crucial paragraphs are para 11 of CAG report number 2 of 1989 and audit para 9 of CAG report number 2 of 1990.
The panel has instead asked the ministry to trace and share with it all the missing files. On July 25, PAC received the file notings of the ministry about the non-submission of ATNs on these paragraphs. The 18-page submission traces the communication within the defence ministry which ended into a decision to delete those paragraphs.
Defence secretary Sanjay Mitra had said that Bofors case is still sub-judice and the return of relevant files from CBI is awaited. Mitra had appeared before the panel on June 14 and 13. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey asked him why the ministry did not try to access these files.
According to PTI, the three-decade-old Rs 64 crore Bofors pay-off case might come up for hearing in the Supreme Court soon. BJP leader and advocate Ajay Kumar Agarwal, who had challenged the Delhi High Court May 31, 2005 judgement quashing all charges against the Europe-based Hinduja brothers in the case, said the matter was listed in the weekly list earlier this month, but could not be taken up, according to PTI.
The Rs 1,437 crore deal between India and the Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors for the supply of 400 155mm Howitzer guns for Indian Army was entered on March 24, 1986. Swedish Radio on April 16, 1987 had claimed that the company had paid bribes to top Indian politicians and defence personnel, according to PTI report.