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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

The man Bofors sleuths chased world over

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 13, 2013
First Published: 23:46 IST(13/7/2013) | Last Updated: 04:13 IST(14/7/2013)

In its final response on the Ottavio Quattrocchi issue, the government had informed the parliament in April that no case survived against the Italian businessman and he was a free citizen.

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In response to a written question in the Lok Sabha on April 23, defence minister AK Antony had also made it clear that there was no plan to launch any fresh probe into the Bofors gun deal.

Antony said Quattrocchi stood “discharged” since he could not be extradited even after 20 years of registration of the case against him.

“An application for withdrawal of court case against Ottavio Quattrocchi was filed by Public Prosecutor on October 3, 2009 in the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, who passed an order allowing withdrawal of prosecution case against Ottavio Quattrocchi in 2011."

Quattrocchi had left India on July 29-30, 1993, before CBI had any material evidence warranting his arrest, he said.

“Consequently, he (Quattrocchi) stands discharged from the case,” Antony said.

He said that the measures to get Quattrocchi extradited from Malaysia and Argentina could not succeed.

“As per the information provided by CBI, the measures taken for extradition of accused Ottavio Quattrochhi from Malaysia and Argentina could not succeed even 20 years after the registration of the case,” the defence minister had said.

He also replied in the negative to a query whether the government plans to launch a fresh probe to look into the 1986 Bofors deal.

Bofors scandal, which turned out to be one of the longest running political battles in the country’s history, provided ammunition to the non-Congress parties repeatedly since fresh revelations kept emerging for nearly two decades.

 During the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had termed the Bofors case as an embarrassment for the country and had charged the opposition with raising allegations which lacked any substance.

 The Congress party on Saturday said Quattrocchi was a “ghost” created by BJP and slammed the opposition for seeking to drag his name to “besmirch” the party and the Gandhi family.

Party leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said “I don't understand why Congress should react to the death of somebody who has been a ghost created by BJP. Somebody has died, his family deserves condolences.”

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar, however, dismissed Singhvi's charges saying the ghost was created because Congress was "hosting" him.

“The ghost was not created by BJP but by V P Singh and if we had created the ghost, it is because you were hosting it," he said reacting to Quattrocchi's death.


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