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India's central probe agency to reopen decades-old arms scandal

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India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has moved the country's Supreme Court, seeking a fresh probe in a decades-old arms scandal case involving late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of main opposition Congress party.

The scandal broke out in 1987 when Swedish Radio alleged that Swedish defense firm Bofors paid bribes to top Indian politicians, including Rajiv Gandhi, and top defence officials to bag a multi-million dollar deal to supply artillery guns to the Indian Army in 1986.

Rajiv Gandhi - the husband of Sonia Gandhi and father of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi - was named an accused but exonerated in 2004 in the alleged payoffs case. And a year later, the Delhi High Court ordered closure of the case.

"But the CBI Friday approached the Supreme Court against the 12-year-old Delhi High Court's order dropping all charges against Indian-origin British industrialists, the Hinduja brothers, and the Swedish defense firm in the case," a senior official said Saturday.

"This is despite the government's top lawyer advising the probe agency against an appeal in the case, saying it may not stand in the court of law due to lapse of time," he said.

The 1986 Bofors scandal brought down then Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi and ruined the party's prospects of returning to power for several years.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 by suicide bombers of erstwhile Sri Lankan rebels Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam.

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