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Lakhubhai Pathak dead

The death of non resident Indian businessman Lakhubhai Pathak, who accused former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao and Chandra Swami of cheating him of $ 100,000, will not not affect the case which is underway, Central Bureau of Investigation sources said.

Since Pathak had already been cross-examined, the sources said the prosecution's case will not be affected.

Rao's counsel R K Anand told United News of India that Pathak's death will not have a bearing on the outcome of the case as the complainant and main witness had been crossexamined fully by the prosecution as well as defence.

Pathak, who made his millions selling pickles to the British, died at Bolton near Lancashire in England on Monday after a prolonged illness. He was 76 and leaves behind his wife, four sons and two daughters.

In 1987, he complained that he had been cheated of $ 100,000 by Chandra Swami who assured him that he would be given a government contract for supply of newsprint and pulp.

During his deposition before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Prem Kumar last year, Pathak claimed that he gave the money to Chandra Swami only after receiving an assurance from then external affairs minister P V Narasimha Rao that his work would be done.

Following this, Judge Prem Kumar summoned Rao as an accused in the case and both the high court and Supreme Court declined to interfere with this order. The apex court later gave Rao an opportunity to plead his case before another trial court judge.

However, Special CBI Judge Ajit Bharihoke to whom the case was transferred, also found sufficient material on record to summon Rao as an accused in the case along with Chandra Swami and his aide Kailashnath Aggarwal.

The trial process has been slow as foreign witnesses, whose testimony is crucial in the case, have not appeared before the special court. Only Pathak and his son Yogesh have testified before Judge Bharihoke. The case will come up again for hearing on April 8.

Rao and Chandra Swami fooled me: Lakhubhai Pathak

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