CBI pleads for withdrawal of Bofors case against Q

Last Updated: Saturday, September 18, 2010 - 18:44

New Delhi: CBI on Saturday told a Delhi court that
there was no point in seeking prosecution of Italian
businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors pay-off case as
repeated attempts to extradite him had failed and two decades
had already elapsed in the case.

"The government of India has already approved of the
withdrawal of the case against Quattrocchi by an order on
September 28, 2009. More than 19 years in the case have
already passed while several attempts to bring him to the
country also failed," Additional Solicitor General P P
Malhotra submitted.
The senior counsel was arguing afresh on behalf of CBI on
an application filed in the court of Chief Metropolitan
Magistrate to withdraw the case against Quattrocchi.

He also told the magistrate that the court had no power to
go into the merit of the application filed under Section 321
of the Criminal Procedure Code to withdraw the criminal case
against the accused.

"The court is not to examine the merit. It is not to
adjudicate. It is only to give its consent for withdrawal of
the case after verifying whether prosecutor is acting bonafide
or not," Malhotra argued.

The court has only "supervisory jurisdiction" and has to
look into whether the application is filed in "good faith" and
in "public interest", the counsel contended.

Explaining before the court the chronology of events
relating to the case, Malhotra pointed out that the attempts
to extradite Quattrocchi had failed in Malaysia and Argentina.

The arguments in the matter was advanced afresh as the
trial court had received the case records from the apex court
last month.
Malhotra was countered by advocates Ajay K Agrawal, and
Siddharth Gupta, appearing for an NGO which had filed an
application before the court opposing CBI`s move to withdraw
the case against Quattrocchi.

Agrawal and Gupta, who submitted that they had every right
to intervene in the matter as it involved public interest,
were told by the court to apprise it with the provisions of
the law to justify their locus standi.

During over hour-long arguments, the court put several
posers to ASG who concluded arguments on behalf of CBI with
regard to the different moves taken by the probe agency in the
case.

Agrawal and Gupta, who intervened during the arguments,
were told by the court to put forth their points of view with
regard to their locus standi on September 29 next date of
hearing.

Meanwhile, an application filed by Agrawal seeking
direction that ASG Malhotra should not appear in the matter on
behalf of CBI as he had earlier appeared for accused Win
Chaddha was dismissed by the court as not maintainable.

Quattrocchi, the sole surviving accused in the case after
the Delhi High Court had quashed the charges on May 31, 2005,
against other accused, has never appeared before any court in
the country.

CBI had on October 3 last filed the plea in the court
seeking withdrawal of case against Quattrocchi. The court had
since then deferred the pronouncement of order on a number
occasion in the matter.

CBI had failed on two occasions in its attempt to get
Quattrocchi extradited -- first from Malaysia in 2003 and then
from Argentina in 2007.

In November last year, the agency had asked the Interpol
to take Quattrocchi`s name off the Red Corner notice list.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, September 18, 2010 - 18:44

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