Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday defended the government decision to close all cases against fugitive Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, accused of receiving illegal kickbacks in the Bofors gun purchase scandal of the mid-1980s.
Responding to a question on Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian's intimation to the Supreme Court on Tuesday about the government's decision, Chidambaram said he agreed with the law ministry's "conclusion that there is no conclusive evidence in the case" and that it could not be pursued endlessly.
"I have never dealt with it and so I do not know the facts of the case. All I know is what the law minister (M. Veerappa Moily) has said. And I think it makes a lot of sense," he told reporters.
"What he said is that the legal system has pursued Quattrocchi for many years. But we have failed to extradite and prosecute him. For how long are we to continue?
"Thereafter consulting the attorney general and the solicitor general, they have come to the conclusion that there is no conclusive evidence in the case. That is what the law minister has said. And I personally feel it makes a lot of sense," he added.
Asked if the government will accord the same privilege to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, suspected to be holed up in Pakistan, after India's failure in extraditing him, Chidambaram said: "No. We have not yet taken Mr. Dawood to a court. And if we are ever able to lay our hands on Dawood, let me assure you that we have lot of evidence against Dawood."