CBI pleads for withdrawal of Bofors case against Q
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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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