CBI’s decision on Quattrochi challenged in Supreme Court


New Delhi : A Delhi-based lawyer Tuesday challenged in the Supreme Court the decision of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to let off Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochi in the Bofors gun payoff case.

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Advocate Ajay K. Agrawal sought the apex court’s direction to stay the withdrawal of Interpol Red Corner notice against Quattrochi, wanted by India for allegedly receiving kickbacks worth Rs.7 billion in the Bofors gun purchase scandal in the mid-1980s.

But the court registry is yet to slate his petition for hearing, Agrawal told IANS.

Agrawal earlier moved the apex court against the government’s decision to defreeze Quattrochi’s bank accounts in London.

The advocate sought the apex court’s order to the government that instead of taking Quattrochi off the most-wanted list, it should arrest him and bring him to India.

Agrawal moved the apex court in January 2006 for a direction to the government to ensure Quattrochi’s presence before a Delhi court to face trial for his alleged role in the Bofors payoff scam.

He had moved the court in the wake of reports that newly sworn-in Congress-led government has given its no objection certificate to a London bank to defreeze two accounts of Quattrochi and his wife Maria.

India had got them frozen in June 2003 during the tenure of the Bharatiya Janata Pary (BJP) government after the Interpol traced the suspected Bofors payoff funds deposited in the two bank accounts.

On Agrawal’s plea, the apex court Jan 16, 2006, ordered the government to ensure that the accounts were not defrozen. It also asked the government to ensure that no money is withdrawn from the accounts.

But despite the apex court’s order, Quattrochi’s accounts with London’s BSI AG Bank were defrozen and he was able to withdraw three million euros and $1 million from the bank.

During a subsequent hearing on Agrawal’s plea Feb 7, 2007, the apex court asked the CBI and the government to retrieve the amount withdrawn from the defrozen bank account.

Later, in a petition filed in March 2007, Agrawal sought contempt of court proceedings against the CBI, alleging that it deliberately concealed the information about Quattrochi’s arrest in Argentina Feb 6, 2007.