The Delhi high court on Monday quashed the charge sheet against three Hinduja brothers in the Rs 640 million Bofors payoff case.
Allowing the Hinduja brothers' petition seeking quashing of the charge sheet on the ground that the Central Bureau of Investigation had not taken consent of Central Vigilance Commission before filing the same, Justice R S Sodhi said the CBI would have the liberty to file a fresh charge sheet in accordance with law.
Justice Sodhi said that as the petition of the Hinduja brothers stood quashed, the cognisance taken of the charge sheet by the trial court against them would stand null and void.
On filing of a fresh charge sheet, the judge said the same could be filed by the CBI after fulfilling the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the Vineet Narain case.
The court pulled up CBI and CVC for not doing their statutory duties. He said the CBI abdicated its duty by not following the Supreme Court laid down guidelines and the CVC did not point this out.
The high court on May 30 had stayed the trial proceedings in the multi-million Bofors payoff case till it pronounced the verdict on the petition filed by the Hinduja brothers.
The Hindujas had sought quashing of the charge sheet on the ground that CBI had flouted the mandatory direction of the Supreme Court by not seeking clearance of the charge sheet from the Central Vigilance Commission before filing it in the court.
Former law minister and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Hindujas had said even if the court decides that the CVC should look into their case afresh, the present Commission was not competent to look into it as it was not created under the mandate of law, but a government order.
Jethmalani said neither could the case be referred to the Director of Public Prosecution, appointed by the government on January 18, five years after the Supreme Court directive, as it was not known what were the powers of the DPP.
However, the bail granted to the three Hinduja brothers and the conditions imposed on them by the Supreme Court would continue to operate, the judge added.
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