Ottavio Quattrocchi flew home to Italy on Wednesday after the CBI reportedly failed to appeal in Argentina’s top court to keep him under detention.
The reprieve does not, however, cancel the Interpol red corner notice against the Italian businessman accused in the Bofors kickbacks case.
Following the legal victory, Quattrocchi scoffed at the CBI’s “obsession” with him. The agency had insult heaped on injury by the court, which asked it to pay Quattrocchi’s legal bills.
“After 22 years I think it is time the CBI closes the case which has become more of an obsession and where not a single iota of evidence has been produced to support any charge of wrongdoing,” Quattrocchi told a news agency before boarding a flight to Milan from Argentina.
In Delhi, CBI officers denied agency reports that Quattrocchi got away because the CBI did not act, and instead blamed the agency’s Argentine lawyers. “The appeal (in the supreme court against a lower court order in Quattrocchi’s favour) was automatic but the public prosecutor did not pursue the matter in court,” said an officer. “Quattrocchi remains an accused for us and we will keep pursuing the case,” he added. CBI officers could not explain why the public prosecutor failed to act.
An Argentine court had turned down India’s plea for Quattrocchi’s extradition on June 8. The 69-year-old is accused of receiving kickbacks from Swedish arms maker Bofors for a contract to sell 155mm Howitzer guns to the Indian army.