Saturday, March 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Give Bofors money details
HC directs Hindujas

New Delhi, March 9
In a new twist to the Bofors payoff case, the Delhi High Court today asked the three Hinduja brothers to state on oath the details of the money received by them from A.B. Bofors, which had bagged the Rs 1,437 crore deal for supply of Howitzer field guns to India in 1986.

Mr Justice S.K. Aggarwal, hearing petitions by London-based S. P. Hinduja and G. P. Hinduja and Geneva-based P.P. Hinduja seeking permission to go out of the country, gave them time till Monday to file the affidavits while posting the matter for further hearing on March 16.

The Judge also asked the CBI to consider the question whether the trial of the three brothers could be separated in the Rs 64 crore Bofors payoff case and asked the agency to file an affidavit in this regard by the next date.

The Hindujas, who had claimed that they had invested around Rs 10,000 crore in India, were asked by Mr Justice Aggarwal to give details of their “movable and immovable assets in India” by Monday.

The three brothers had appealed in the high court against the trial court order denying them permission to go out of the country after they appeared before it on January 19, when they were granted bail.

The Hindujas have maintained all along that the money received by them from the Bofors company was not related to the gun deal signed by it with India.

The court asked for affidavits from the Hinduja brothers recalling that their counsel had argued that the money received by them from A.B. Bofors had not been paid to anyone as was alleged by the CBI.

Hindujas’ counsel Kapil Sibal and Arvind Nigam contended that the money received by the three brothers was not given to anyone, but invested in the companies owned by them.

“It will be helpful to know about the status of the money while deciding the petition,” Mr Justice Aggarwal said.

When the court reminded that their counsel Rajinder Singh had said that the money was lying “untouched” in an account, Mr Sibal said a letter written by an independent chartered accountant to the investigating Judge in Switzerland had stated that the money was not utilised to pay anyone outside, but was invested in various Hinduja companies.

When the Judge asked the Hindujas to file the affidavits, Mr Sibal contended that it was for the CBI to produce the documents in this regard as it investigated into the case.

He said: “the CBI was playing hide and seek with the court as it is in possession of the letter written by a chartered accountant, Mr Atag Ernest Young, to the Swiss investigating Judge. The same was given by the Hinduja brothers to the CBI during the interrogation in January.”

Mr Nigam said that Mr Young was appointed by the Swiss investigating Judge to look into the matter after the CBI in its fresh letters rogatory in June last year had sought more information in the matter saying that the documents given by it earlier did not show that any money was transferred from the accounts of Mr G. P. Hinduja and Mr P.P. Hinduja.

“If the CBI wanted to conduct further probe, it should not have filed the charge-sheet,” Mr Nigam said.

The trial court on February 1 had rejected Hindujas’ applications, seeking permission to go out of the country on the ground that they might not return to face the trial. PTI

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