‘Q’ case: SC orders sending of records to court

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 19:21

New Delhi: The proceedings for withdrawal o
prosecution against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi
in Bofors pay off case will be expedited as the Supreme Court
today allowed CBI`s plea for sending records of the case to
the trial court where proceedings were halted for want of case
records.

An advocate, who is pursuing the case in different courts
here, protested the passing of the order, alleging CBI was
making all attempts to bail out Quattrocchi.
Disregarding the submission of advocate Ajay Agrawal that
records of the case were called to the apex court on account
of an appeal filed by him challenging the decision of the
Delhi High Court quashing charges against other accused, a
Bench comprising Justices H S Bedi and C K Prasad said that
does not stop it from considering the plea for sending the
records to the trial court.

The Bench said it can send the records to the trial court
and at any stage it can also call them back.

"We direct that the aforesaid records be sent to the
trial court forthwith. The same should be sent back as soon as
the case in the trial court is decided or whenever this court
decides to call it back," the Bench said while dismissing the
contention of the advocate that any such decision would set a
wrong precedent.

CBI pressed its application two days after Chief
Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja posted for hearing its
plea for withdrawal of the case against Quattrocchi on August
28 because the case records were with the Supreme Court.

Quattrocchi has never appeared in Indian courts to
face the trial in the case relating to alleged payoff.

At the outset, Agrawal submitted that CBI`s plea
cannot be looked into by the Bench as his appeal against the
the Delhi High Court`s May 31, 2005, decision quashing charges
against Europe-based Hinduja brothers -- S P Hinduja, G P
Hinduja and P C Hinduja -- has been admitted by the apex
court.

However, the Bench turned down his submission saying "how
will you be prejudiced if the records are sent to the
trial court"?

When the advocate said his appeal is likely to come up
for hearing soon and it would be difficult to call back the
records, the Bench shot back that "trucks load of records can
be called by the Supreme Court".

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said the records are
required in the trial court which has fixed CBI`s application
for withdrawal of case against Quattrocchi on August 28. On
several occasions in the past, the proceedings have been
adjourned for want of the case records, he added.
However, when Agrawal persisted with his opposition to
the plea by CBI, the Bench took a tough stand and said "we are
not going to be dictated by you. You will not dictate us".

"What is the problem in sending the records to the trial
court? I wonder what is your approach. Don`t talk like
this," the Bench said asking the advocate to lower his pitch.

Agrawal said "CBI is doing all this to bail out
Quattrocchi from the case, who is walking like a free man".
He said CBI is hand-in-glove with the accused.

Agrawal has also filed an application before the trial
court opposing CBI`s decision to withdraw the case against
70-year-old Quattrocchi.

He had contended that the original records relating to
the case were sent to the Supreme Court in a separate matter
in which some accused were discharged by the Delhi High Court.

The advocate had approached the apex court pleading it to
constitute a Special Investigative Team to probe the alleged
role played by some government officials leading to
withdrawing of Red Corner notice against Quattrocchi and
defreezing of his accounts.

Agrawal had earlier challenged the May 31, 2005, 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 Centre had during the earlier hearing in the apex
court claimed all efforts to extradite Quattrocchi have
failed.

It had contended the decision to withdraw the case
against him was taken considering the 2005 judgement of the
High Court which had held that no case of corruption was made
out in the Bofors deal.

Agrawal had also moved the apex court in January, 2006,
against the defreezing of Quattrocchi`s bank account in
London and opposed the stand of the Centre and CBI.

He had complained to the apex court that CBI was not
serious in its efforts to extradite the Italian businessman
against whom the Red Corner Notice was withdrawn in 2009.

PTI




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