New Delhi: CBI today told a Delhi court
that private parties have no "locus standi" to oppose its move
to withdraw the case against Italian businessman Ottavio
Quattrocchi in the Bofors pay-off case.
"Private persons (advocate Ajay K Agrawal and NGO
`Nirdhan Nishulk Kanooni Sahayata Samiti`) have no locus
standi under the Criminal Procedure Code to oppose the
withdrawal of case by the prosecutors," Additional Solicitor
General (ASG) P P Malhotra said.
Arguing before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod
Yadav, the ASG, who also cited various apex court judgments to
buttress his arguments, said in such criminal cases, where the
accused cannot be brought to face the trial, prosecutors were
empowered to seek withdrawal of 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," the ASG said.
Agrawal and Siddharth Gupta, counsel for Nirdhan
Nishulk Kanooni Sahayata Samiti, opposed the plea of the probe
agency saying the case pertained to "hard-earned" taxpayers`
"Please, do not advance political arguments. The court
of a magistrate is strictly guided by the Criminal Procedure
Code and satisfy me on the issue of your locus standi to
object CBI`s application," the court said.
"This is not the Supreme Court or the High Court which
have extra-ordinary jurisdictions to allow such contentions,"
the magistrate said.
Meanwhile, Agrawal sought an adjournment saying he
could not prepare his arguments as his mother was seriously
The court allowed the plea and fixed the matter for
October 30 for hearing further arguments. The ASG, however,
opposed the adjournment.
Earlier, the probe agency had said the attempts to
extradite Quattrocchi had failed in Malaysia and Argentina.
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
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
occasions 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.