At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party BJP were raking up Bofors case to recall how it maligned former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s image, the CBI, in a remarkable u-turn, today (Thursday, May 16) withdrew from a Delhi court its application seeking permission to further probe the case.

Making submission before a court at the Tis Hazari district courts, counsel for the probe agency said that it would decide the future course in the matter later. But at the moment, the agency did not want to pursue the application for permission to further probe the case, the counsel further said.

Meanwhile, advocate Ajay Agarwal, who had also moved an application for further probe into the matter, also moved an application for withdrawing his plea. But when the court threatened to impose costs on him for wasting its time, Agarwal said that he would argue on it. The court agreed to his submission, reported The Hindu.

The CBI told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Navin Kumar Kashyap that it wants to withdraw the application filed on February 1, 2018. It had moved the trial court seeking permission for further probe in the matter saying it had come across fresh material and evidence.

The agency on Thursday submitted before the court that decision on further course of action would be taken by it and wanted to withdraw the application for now.

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Taking note of CBI’s stand, the judge said: “For the reason best known to the CBI, in case they want to withdraw the application, they have the right as they are the applicants.”

The court on December 4, 2018 had questioned as to why the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) required its permission to further probe the matter.

The CBI had also filed an appeal in the Supreme Court in February 2, 2018 against the May 31, 2005 verdict of the Delhi high Court discharging all the accused in the case.

The top court had on November 2, 2018 dismissed CBI’s appeal in which it had sought condonation of the 13-year delay in filing the appeal against the high court judgment.

The supreme court had said that it was not convinced with the grounds of the CBI to condone over 4,500 days’ delay in filing the appeal.

However, one of the appeals is still alive in the apex court in which CBI is one of the respondents and the top court on November 2, 2018 said that the agency can assist in the matter as respondent. The top court said the CBI can raise all grounds in the appeal against the high court verdict filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal who has also challenged the judgement.

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Agrawal, who has now become a rebel BJP leader after he was denied Lok Sabha ticket from Rai Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, in 2005 had challenged the high court verdict after the CBI did not file the appeal in the mandatory 90 days period.

The agency had swung into action for a permission for further probe in the case after the Attorney General had orally given it a go ahead to file the appeal in the case in which it cited the October 2017 interview of private detective Michael Hershman, alleging that the then Rajiv Gandhi government had sabotaged his probe.

Justice RS Sodhi (since retired) of the Delhi High Court had on May 31, 2005 quashed the CBI case in the Bofors pay-off scam.

Before the 2005 verdict of Justice Sodhi, another judge of the Delhi High Court, Justice J D Kapoor (since retired), had on February 4, 2004 exonerated the late prime minister in the case and directed the framing of charge of forgery under section 465 of the IPC against Bofors company.