1988 Pistol deal: CBI does not oppose bail of ex-bureaucrat

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 15, 2012 13:05 hrs

New Delhi: The CBI today told a Delhi court that it has no objection if an 82-year-old retired bureaucrat, who is a co-accused with former Union Minister Arun Nehru in the 1988 pistol purchase deal scam, is granted bail on the ground of his old age and poor health.

"The CBI has no objection if the accused (B P Singhal) is allowed bail in the case, being a senior citizen and suffering from multiple ailments as claimed by him, subject to the normal condition being imposed for bail," the agency told Special CBI Judge Dinesh Kumar Sharma.

It was alleged in the FIR that then minister of state for home Nehru along with B P Singhal, then additional secretary in the ministry, and then director A K Verma conspired and caused a loss of Rs 25 lakh to the exchequer in the pistol deal with Czechoslovakia in 1988.

The court in August 2012 rejected the probe agency's closure report observing that some of the documents reflected involvement of the accused in the conspiracy and had summoned Singhal and Nehru. Verma had died during the pendency of the case.

"It is prayed that the court may please to pass an order as it deems fit," CBI said in its reply to the bail plea of Singhal which was filed on August 30 through his counsel S P Ahluwalia.

Singhal sought the bail saying that he is suffering from chronic diseases and had cooperated with the agency during the probe.

"There is not even a whisper of evidence against Singhal," the application said, adding that the he is a retired IPS officer of 1995 batch and had held various prestigious posts.

The court also exempted Singhal from personal appearance on the ground that he was hospitalised and fixed the matter for hearing on October 1.

On a similar plea of Nehru, the court today said that it was bound by the Delhi High Court order to exempt him from personal appearance.

However, it also made clear to Nehru that he will have to appear if he moves for bail in the case.

the court had rejected the probe report that the case against Nehru and two others be closed as nothing incriminating was found against them and had issued summons against them for August 30 after taking cognizance of it.

During 1985-86 when Singhal and Verma allegedly conspired with Nehru to execute the deal by ignoring the guidelines for conducting the evaluation of 9 mm pistols, to be procured for army.

The CBI allegedly found that a policy decision to replace .38 mm revolvers with 9 mm ones was taken on February 21, 1986, following which global tenders were invited.

The CBI had claimed that Nehru did not consult the army personnel and technical experts before the deal was executed and, moreover, the sample pistol was found to have a wide array of defects.

The deal was finally clinched with Czech firm Merkuria Foreign Trade Corp for purchase of the pistols.

Nehru, during examination, had denied giving any specific written direction to purchase the pistol. He had also denied taking any decision regarding the constitution of a new evaluation committee, the CBI had said.

However, the CBI later filed the closure report with the lower court on June 13, 2007 saying that the investigation did not reveal any written instruction by Nehru nor the constitution of any fresh evaluation committee.

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