In an upbeat mood over the fresh ammunition it has received to target the UPA Government during the upcoming Budget Session of Parliament, the BJP on Saturday accused the CBI of suppressing information about Bofors accused Ottavio Quattrocchi's arrest to save Congress from embarrassment during the Punjab and Uttarakhand Assembly elections.
"Quattrocchi was arrested in Argentina on February 6 but this news was held back by the CBI till Friday. Even now, this information has come from the Interpol, of which CBI is the Indian wing," party general secretary Arun Jaitley stated.
While charging the Congress-led government of systematically attempting to delay investigation in the Bofors case, he said the fact that CBI "suppressed" the vital news about Quattrocchi for "political reasons" had seriously eroded its image as an impartial agency. A resolution to this effect was passed at a meeting of top leaders of the BJP, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani and president Rajnath Singh during the day.
The BJP-led Opposition is likely to disrupt both Houses of Parliament on the issue as soon as they meet on the opening day of the Budget Session on Monday when the Railway Budget is to be presented in the Lok Sabha.
Jaitley alleged that CBI's silence on Quattrocchi was intended to deny Argentia the evidence needed to detain him in that country. He also asserted that the absence of an extradition treaty between Indian and Argentina need not necessarily prevent his being brought back here. Abu Salem was extradited to India in similar circumstances.
If the CBI and Ministry of External Affairs made "honest efforts" in this direction, the Bofors accused could be brought back to India, Jaitley said while echoing the contents of the resolution passed by the BJP leadership.