Moily defends move to drop cases against Quattrocchi


New Delhi : Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily Wednesday supported the government’s decision to drop prosecution proceedings against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the Bofors payoff case, saying there was nothing left to do in the matter.

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“This case is going on since long. If he (Quattrocchi) could be brought back and any conviction could be held, then the case could be pursued with a positive result. But ultimately nothing positive was found,” Moily told a television channel.

The over two decade old Bofors payoff case headed for a quiet burial with the government Tuesday informing the Supreme Court that it had decided to stop all prosecution against Quattrocchi.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told a bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishanan that all efforts to extradite Quattrocchi, an accused in the case relating to payment of Rs. 640 million as commission in the Howitzer gun deal, had failed.

“In February 2004 itself, the Delhi High Court said it is a waste of time. After that the case was handed over to the CBI, and they have been playing a positive role for 22 years. We must have spent more money in the case than the Bofors gun itself,” the law minister added.

The case against Quattrocchi has taken many twists and turns after he was named in a CBI chargesheet in 1999. The scandal erupted in 1987 when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister.

The Italian was accused by the CBI of receiving millions of dollars in commissions for helping to fix the $1.4 billion gun deal in the mid-1980s.

The apex court will now hear the matter Dec 11.