Q extradition hearing date fixed for May 23
An Argentine court is to begin hearing on May 23 on India's request for the extradition of fugitive Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochhi, a top government sleuth said.
New Delhi wants Quattrochhi to stand trial in India for his alleged role in the two-decade-old Bofors gun purchase corruption scam.
With the hearing date now fixed, the Central Bureau of Investigation is standing by to fly out a team to Argentina to assist its counsel in the case, CBI Special Director ML Sharma said.
The case is to be heard in the First Court of El Dorado in Misiones province, about 1,500 km from the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.
Sharma, however, said that the CBI is yet to take a final decision on sending a team.
"It will depend on the feedback from the counsel, as well as the assessment of our mission there on the requirement of our team," said Sharma.
The Argentine court had asked Indian counsel on April 18 to submit additional documents and evidence, if any, to buttress the plea for Quattrochhi's extradition.
The CBI, however, maintained that it had sent the necessary documentary evidence to the court to prove the prima facie guilt of Quattrochhi, who is accused of cheating the Indian exchequer of the rest 640 million (about $1.57 million at today's rates) while brokering a deal for the purchase of Swedish-made Bofors field guns in 1987.
The CBI has hired the services of special counsel Miguel Almeyra to represent India, and the Argentine government has appointed Lilian Delgado to assist the CBI.
Quattrochhi is being represented by counsel Alejandro Freeland and Luis Taimini.
Quattrochhi was picked up on February 6 at the Iguazu International airport in Misiones province while on his way to Buenos Aires. He has been detained in response to an Interpol Red Corner notice issued against him in 1997.