A Delhi Court on Thursday adjourned till September 8 the hearing in the Bofors payoffs case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi after the CBI sought two months time to decide further course of action against him following his name being withdrawn from the list of wanted persons.
During a brief hearing before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja, Additional Solicitor General PP Malhotra, appearing for CBI, filed an application informing the court that the Red Corner Notice issued against Quattrocchi was withdrawn in November last year.
The court then inquired as to what options were left with the prosecution in the case against Quattrocchi.
"There were eight accused in the case. Three are already dead, four were acquitted by the Delhi High Court in February 2004. Various attempts to get Quattrochi extradiated to India have failed," the ASG said, sidestepping the question put to him.
In her order deferring the hearing till September 8, the Magistrate said, "An application filed on behalf of CBI seeks period of two months to decide further course of action in the matter".
"It is stated that during the course of investigation, the Red Corner Notice was recalled. Extradition proceedings have not been completed for various reasons," Baweja said.
The Interpol had withdraw the Red Corner Notice against 70-year-old Quattrocchi, which was first issued against the Italian businessman in 1997, following a communication from the CBI.
Quattrocchi has not appeared before the court to face trial in the case and, as a result, charges could not be framed against him despite two chargesheets filed in the case. Subsequently he was declared an absconder.
The court had on February 10, 1997 send letters to Malaysia and the UAE seeking the arrest and extradition of Quattrocchi.
CBI had registered the FIR in the Bofors case on January 22, 1990, three years after Swedish Radio on April 16, 1987, claimed AB Bofors, the makers of the 155 mm howitzers, had paid kickbacks to top Indian politicians and key defence officials to secure the Rs 1,437 crore gun deal.
The contract between the Indian government and the Swedish Company for the supply of 400 field guns was signed on March, 24, 1986.
CBI had filed the first chargesheet in the case on October 22, 1999 naming Win Chadha, Quattrocchi, former Defence Secretary S K Bhatnagar, former Bofors chief Martin Ardbo and Bofors company as accused.
The investigating agency on October 9, 2000 had filed a supplementary chargesheet naming Hinduja brothers- Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand - as accused in the case. The charges against them were quashed by the Delhi High Court on May 31, 2005.