Saturday, April 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hindujas’ plea to go abroad fails

New Delhi, April 27
The Delhi High Court today dismissed the three Hinduja brothers’ appeal for leaving the country, saying that the CBI’s apprehension that they might not be available for trial could not be said to be unfounded.

Rejecting their petitions challenging the trial court order denying them permission to go out of the country, Mr Justice S. K. Agarwal, however, directed the CBI to move the trial court for a separate trial of the Hindujas and other accused who have already appeared before the court for the speedy disposal of charges against them.

The CBI had given an undertaking to the high court that it was ready to split the trial of the Hindujas and other accused who had appeared in the case from that of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochhi and former Bofors Chief Martin Ardbo in view of the delay in their extradition.

Directing the trial court to record evidence in the case preferably on a day-to-day basis within six months, Mr Justice Agarwal said if the CBI failed to do so, the Hinduja brothers could move the trial court to seek permission to go out of the country.

In that eventuality, the court would consider such an application of the three brothers - S. P. Hinduja, G. P. Hinduja and P. P. Hinduja - inter alia on the condition requiring them to deposit $ 11.84 million, which was the amount received by them from A.B.Bofors, with 10 per cent interest from the date of registration of the FIR in the case on January 1, 1990.

After considering the arguments of both parties, Mr Justice Agarwal said: “In my view, taking into consideration the nature of the gravity of the offence... And the conduct of the petitioners, who are foreign nationals, the imposition of the condition directing them not to leave the country without the permission of the court is fully justified and in accordance with the law.”

Mr Justice Agarwal observed that the money received from Bofors by the Hinduja brothers was a “case property” and as per the certificate given by their chartered accountants about nine such payments, it aggregated to 80.79 million Swedish kroners.

The Hinduja brothers’ counsel had contended that the money received by them from Bofors was in no way related to the Rs 1437 crore gun deal signed by India with the Swedish arms manufacturers but was related to other business deals.

In their affidavits filed before the high court on March 14, the three brothers had stated that they did not have any movable or immovable assets in their individual names in India.

Taking note of their affidavits, the court said the fact supported the CBI’s apprehension that “the petitioners may not be available before the court, if they feel the proceedings of the case were going adverse to them....”

The trial court had on February 1 rejected their plea for leaving the country and the three brothers had challenged the order in the high court. While granting them bail on January 19 on their appearance in the case, the court imposed the condition that they would not leave India without its permission.

The trial court had expressed apprehension that they might not return to face trial in the case if allowed to go. PTI


India’s veiled threat to Dhaka
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
In a veiled threat to Bangladesh, India said today that it could review the “relationship” between the two countries if Dhaka did not conduct probe within a “reasonable” time and punish those involved in the ghastly killing of 16 BSF men at Pyrdiwah border outpost in Meghalaya.

“It is well within our rights to review the relationship (between the two countries) if Bangladesh does not punish the perpetrators within a reasonable time,” the Minister of State for Home, Mr I.D. Swami told a select group of newspersons here.

Mr Swami, who visited Pyrdiwah and Boraibari border areas to assess the ground situation prevailing there after the barbaric killing of 16 BSF jawans by the BDR personnel, last week, said contrary to Bangladesh’s claim there are reports of heavy BDR and Bangladesh army presence on the other side of the border.

Stating that the morale of the BSF personnel has not sagged because of the brutal killing, the minister said the Indian paramilitary forces has taken all steps to counter any mischief from across the border.

The minister, who is likely to submit a report on his visit to Assam and Meghalaya, claimed that there was no intelligence failure as the “incident (BDR attack) could not be anticipated as it cropped up all of a sudden on a friendly border.”

However, he said, “the Bangladeshis had been planning about it (the attack), although not for too long.” On the controversy over whether Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had really apologised for the brutal killings and that she had assured that the guilty would be punished, Mr Swami said, “It is on record that Mrs Hasina had committed to order an inquiry and punish the perpetrators”.

Asked whether involvement of Pakistan in the BDR adventure is suspected as the BDR chief Gen Fazlur Rehman had met Pakistan military ruler General Musharraf a week before the ghastly killings, the minister merely said, “There can be many Pakistani elements in Bangladesh administration. We can’t rule out Pakistan’s involvement”.

Referring to media reports comparing the Kargil conflict and the recent BDR intrusion, Mr Swami said, “It is ridiculous to compare the two... Kargil was a full-fledged war with intrusion by the Pakistani armymen.”

Mr Swami, accompanied by Joint Secretary in the MHA, Mr G. K. Pillai, BSF IG, V. N. Rai and BSF IG (Shillong) V. N. Gaur, had visited BSF posts at Mankachar, Pyrdiwah, Lynghat, and Dawaki on the Indo-Bangladesh border on April 25 and 26 and spoke to the BSF jawans and paid homage to the soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice.

He had also announced Rs 10,000 each to every household/family affected by the BDR intrusion, Rs 1 lakh each for the reconstruction of village church and school and 15 TV sets for BSF posts on the Assam-Meghalaya border with Bangladesh.


Hasina to meet Indian leaders

Dhaka, April 27
The Bangladesh Prime Minister, Ms Shiekh Hasina, will meet Indian leaders next month to defuse tension on the frontier fueled by the border clash, government officials and diplomats said today.

Ms Hasina is hoping to make a stopover in New Delhi around May 19 on her way back home from Brussels, where she is scheduled to attend a United Nations meeting, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Indian diplomats confirmed that Ms Hasina wanted to stop in New Delhi.

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