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Don?t let Quattrocchi bank freeze go: Jaitley to PM

The BJP leader has written to Manmohan, asking him to intervene to keep the UK bank accounts of Quattrocchi frozen.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2006 01:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley has written to PM Manmohan Singh, asking him to intervene to keep the UK bank accounts of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchifrozen.

In his two-page letter, Jaitley said if the law ministry’s controversial pleas to Britain to release the money “are not countermanded you may well be confronted with a situation in the next couple of days where money will fly out of Britain and will go to some unknown destination. And they will runway far from us just as Quattrocchi has.”

Jaitley reminded the PM about the CBI probe into Quattrochi’s role in the Bofors scam, and its success in getting the accounts frozen because of the alleged money trail from Switzerland — where the kickbacks for the gun deal were paid — to bank accounts in Britain. “Even four or five days after this scandalous act of the law ministry coming to surface, no request has been made to Britain to countermand the instruction which has been given by the ministry and the Additional Solicitor General,” he said.

Alleging that the Italian businessman had “turned to his powerful political friends for help”, Jaitley demanded action against law minister HR Bhardwaj, accusing him of interfering in the criminal proceedings against Quattrocchi.

Jaitley told the PM that “the fact that you are not acting against an erring minister raises doubts about existence of any accountability in the government, which claims a legislation on the Right to Information as its achievement.” “Quattrocchi’s legal remedies in the matter did not yield results. It appears that he has now turned to his powerful political friends for help,” Jaitley said in his letter.

Meanwhile, BJP president Rajnath Singh said the party would raise the issue in the coming budget session. He expressed surprise over reports that the PM was “unaware” of the happenings.

First Published: Jan 15, 2006 21:22 IST