Government asked to give NGO CBI probe report on Scorpene


New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the government to provide the preliminary inquiry report of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to an NGO that has alleged kickbacks in the Rs.160 billion Scorpene submarine deal.

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The report, filed by the CBI in a sealed envelope a few months back, is understood to say that no evidence has so far been found of kickbacks in the deal. The report also details the investigations that helped the CBI arrive at this conclusion.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar observed that if the contents of the report are not revealed to NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, it would be handicapped in opposing the CBI’s finding in the case.

The court asked the government to reply by Monday as to whether the report can be seen by the NGO.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, contended that if the government was opposing a full-fledged investigation into the deal on the basis of the findings of the CBI, then he too should be allowed to go through the report to counter the centre’s contention.

Earlier, the government informed the court that the CBI had studied several pen-drives, e-mail messages and records of telephonic conversations that took place between officials of the submarine-maker, Thales, and the alleged middlemen, but could not find any evidence of kickbacks having been paid.

The government had finalised the Rs. 160 billion deal with the French company in October 2005.