Bofors case: SC allows amendment of prayers in plea

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 21:19

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed
an advocate pursuing the Bofors payoff case to amend the
prayers in his petition relating to Italian businessman
Ottavio Quattrocchi in which he had sought directions for CBI
to take action for stopping defreezing of his bank accounts in
London.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan,
after initial reluctance, permitted advocate Ajay Agrawal to
incorporate the prayers made by him in several applications in
the main petition.

When the matter came up for hearing, the Bench said
nothing survives in the petition as the accounts of the
accused had already been defreezed.

However, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for
Agrawal, said the matter cannot be allowed to be disposed of
as several related developments had taken place after the
filing of petition relating to Quattrocchi, who is an accused
in the payoff case, since 2006.

He said not only the Italian businessman withdrew the
amount from the bank in London but CBI had failed to secure
his extradition despite being detained in Argentina on the
basis of an Interpol Red Corner Notice.

Further, CBI withdrew the Red Corner Notice and
recently filed an application in the trial court for
withdrawing the prosecution of the case against Quattrocchi,
he said.

The Bench, also comprising Justices J M Panchal and B S
Chauhan, which was initially not in favour of including all
these issues in the main petition, later agreed and granted a
week`s time to Agrawal to file an application and posted the
matter for final disposal on March 23.

However, the Bench did not allow his plea that it should
first hear the appeal filed by him against the May 31, 2005
verdict of the Delhi High Court quashing charges against the
Europe-based Hinduja brothers in the case.

"No, we cannot allow this plea. We are not concerned with
the appeal," the Bench said.

Agrawal has challenged the High Court verdict after CBI
had failed to file the appeal within the mandatory 90 days.
The apex court has admitted his petition and issued notices to
CBI and others in 2005.

The Bench did not accept the submission of Bhushan that
hearing of appeal would lead to the root of the matter as the
development taken place in Quattrocchi`s case was the outcome
of the May 31, 2005 High Court verdict which he described as
"ridiculous judgement".

He said after the verdict, the then Additional
Solicitor General B Dutta had conveyed the decision on behalf
of the government to the Crown Prosecutor in the United
Kingdom for the defreezing of Quattrocchi`s account in a bank
in London.

Bhushan said the then ASG, in his communication to the
Crown prosecutor, had said such a decision was taken following
the High Court judgement in the Hinduja matter.

However, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, submitted
that a judgement of February 4, 2004 by the Delhi High Court
had held that there was no evidence to prosecute the case
under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He said no appeal has been filed against the verdict.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 21:19

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