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    Did CBI inflate expenses to close Bofors case?

    New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not spend over Rs 250 crores in its efforts to get Ottavio Quattrocchi. Documents accessed by CNN-IBN through an RTI pegs the figure at Rs 5 crore. So was the expense deliberately inflated to close the case?Quattrocchi has been the most wanted man in India over the past two decades. Unable to get the main accused in the Bofors kickbacks return to India, a CBI court had recently allowed the agency to close down its investigations. One of the big reasons cited by the court was wastage of money in a case which was not going anywhere.Citing earlier judgements, CBI judge Vinod Yadav said as against the alleged kickback of Rs 64 crores, the CBI by the year 2005 had already spent around Rs 250 crores on the investigation which is a sheer wastage of public money.But details accessed under the RTI act reveal that the actual sum spent was much lower."It just shows that the CBI was trying to use this figure to prove its point,” said Ajay Agarwal.The expenditure includes cost of travel of CBI officers including former directors, payments made to lawyers as well as any other investigation attempt made in foreign countries.In 1996-9, Joginder Singh as CBI director went to Switzerland with two of his colleagues for four days. The cost incurred was just over Rs two lakhs.In 2004, another director Vijay Shankar went to Switzerland for 12 days with two different colleagues. Expenditure – Rs 14 lakhs.The last available record is of 2006 when a 15-day trip to London cost the CBI just over Rs 8 lakhs.An overall sum of Rs 49, 53, 343 spent from 1995 to 2006 was only on foreign visits.The difference in what the court had said and what come out in the RTI is making the Opposition see red again."The judgement itself was erroneous,” said Arun Jaitley.The question is from where did the figure of an overall expenditure of Rs 250 crores in Bofors investigations come about? And was that figure never really verified by the court? So was it really a wastage of public money or was that a guise created to end the investigations.