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Q case hearing likely to start in 15 days

Argentinian law requires judges to set a date for hearing in a case within 15 days of receiving complaints.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Buenos Aires
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2007 11:27 AM IST

The Argentinian judge, to whom the papers for extradition of Bofors case accused Ottavio Quattrocchi's have been forwarded, has 15 days to commence the hearing.

Quattrocchi's lawyer Alejandro Freeland is yet to receive "confirmation" that his client is to face an extradition hearing in Misiones Province, but "expects to hear from the authorities there in the next 24 to 48 hours".

The attempts to seek Quattrocchi's extradition moved a step forward on Monday when the Argentinian government cleared the 250-page file submitted by Indian government that was flown to El Dorado city to be examined by the local judge.

The judge, according to Argentinian law, will then set a date for a hearing within 15 days of receiving the papers.

Freeland said he is yet to be given access to the CBI's paperwork and remained skeptical about its contents.

He suspects that the CBI may have failed to supply the Argentinian authorities with the 2004 and 2005 New Delhi High Court rulings that he believes show that the Bofors case "is based on lies and does not exist."

It is impossible for the CBI to overlook these two rulings, and that they cannot pursue Quattrocchi around the world when "their own courts have thrown the case out," Freeland said.

Meanwhile, the lawyer said that Quattrocchi was now considering suing Indian Interpol for alleged breach of his human rights under international law.

Freeland said he believed that his client has a strong case under both the international law and Argentine law against the CBI.

"Quattrocchi is incredibly annoyed at having been under suspicion for 20 years... He is currently looking into acting against those who are pursuing him," Freeland said.

He cited Section 11b of Argentine law as stating that a man may not be tried for the same crime twice, and alleged that the CBI was violating the international tenet.

Freeland said he was "very confident in his client's case and not worried about the prospect of a hearing" as he believes that the two Delhi High Court rulings, along with the judgements by Malaysian courts rejecting India's extradition request and the release of Quattrocchi's accounts in London last year will ensure that the Argentinian judge will reject the extradition petition.

Freeland, who said he was practicing law for over two decades in Argentina, believes that the petition will be rejected once the court has access to his client's testimony and the previous rulings.

Describing it as an "incredibly strange case", Freeland said he cannot believe that the CBI is pursuing an extradition as he can find "no logical, rational or juridical arguments that sustain this case".

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