The CBI said in court today that its decision to drop its case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi remained unchanged.
The CBI said its decision was in no way affected by an income tax tribunal which announced a few days back that it had uncovered proof that Quattrocchi and Win Chadha, agent of Bofors in India, had received kickbacks in the deal.
The judge didn't hold back his criticism of the CBI. "'I am prima facie convinced of malafide and lack of good faith of CBI. On the point of public interest, I have to still satisfy myself. I think this matter will go up to the Supreme Court.
The CBI has put the cart before the horse by taking off the red-corner notice against Mr Quattrochi before this court could decide on the withdrawal of prosecution."
In 1986, the purchase of Bofors guns from the Swedish company and the alleged corruption in the Rs1,500-crore deal had put Rajiv Gandhi, the then prime minister in the hot seat. It later went on to cost him the elections in 1989.
Quattrocchi, a close friend of the Gandhi family, was accused of serving as a conduit between the Swedish company Bofors and Indian politicians who received kickbacks in the deal. In 1993, Quattrochi left India to avoid arrest. Chadha later died in 2001.