Friday, February 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hindujas told not to leave India
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 1 — A designated CBI court today turned down a request by the three Hinduja brothers to allow them to leave India. It expressed doubts that they might not return to face trial in the Bofors case.

Hinduja brothers Srichand (left) and Gopichand speak to journalists outside a court in New Delhi after they were refused permission to leave the country. — Reuters photo 

“I have dismissed the application,” the Special Judge, Mr Ajit Bharihoke said. He was of the view that if allowed to go, the accused may not come back to face the trial.

The Hindujas are likely to appeal in the Delhi High Court against the order. The investigating agency had contested the application of the three Hinduja brothers— London-based Srichand P. Hinduja and Gopichand P. Hinduja and Geneva-based Prakash P. Hinduja — on the ground that they would not return if the trial proceedings did not proceed as per their expectations.

The three brothers were not present in the court as their lawyers had been informed, shortly before the formal pronouncement of the order, that the application has been rejected.

The CBI had told the designated court on January 30 that the Hinduja brothers had been evasive during their interrogation over nine days in regard to their alleged involvement in the Bofors payoff case.


Lord Levy’s role in Hinduja deal

LONDON, Feb 1 (PTI) — Ruling Labour Party chief fundraiser Lord Levy brokered the deal in which NRI businessmen Hinduja brothers gave £ 1 million to the Millennium Dome in October, 1998, when Srichand applied for a British passport, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office confirmed last night, a British daily reported today.

Lord Levy secured the donation at a meeting with the Hinduja brothers, Srichand and Gopichand, Chairman and President, respectively of the Hinduja group, at the House of Lords in October 1998, the month in which Mr Srichand Hinduja applied for the passport. It was granted five months later, the Daily Telegraph said.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman Alastair Campbell said last night Lord Levy “had a role” in raising money for the Dome’s faith zone.

While a spokesman for Lord Levy said the passport application was not discussed at the meeting, the opposition Tories have called for an inquiry by Queen’s counsel, Sir Anthony Hammond, into the circumstances surrounding the passport application to be broadened to include Lord Levy’s role.

Tory MP Nicholas Soames wrote to Sir Anthony asking him to investigate reports that the Hinduja brothers met Lord Levy to “confirm” the sponsorship arrangements.

“It would be interesting to know why Lord Levy, who is neither a minister nor an official, should have met them over the Dome and what was the result of the meeting,” Mr Soames said.

A report in the Daily Telegraph today said Mr Jennie Page, former chief executive of the New Millennium Experience company, running the Dome project, also attended the meeting.

In June, 1998, the brothers Srichand, Gopichand and Prakash, offered to under-write the entire £ 4 million cost of the Dome’s faith zone, through their charity, the Hinduja Foundation.

However, Lord Levy recommended to Mr Page that she should accept only £ 1 million, so that other faiths could also contribute, it said.Back

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