The recent disclosure of the CBI revealed the role of the UPA government in providing relief to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who was involved in the Bofors scam. If the UPA government wanted, it could have continued the ban on withdrawal of money from Quattrocchi’s bank accounts but the government chose not to do so.
The CBI told the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of the UK had suggested way of continuing the ban on Quattrocchi’s funds, which was rejected by the then Additional Solicitor General Bhagvan Dutta.
The information that the CBI has shared with PAC recently shows that the Congress-led UPA government wanted Quattrocchi to withdraw $1 million (about Rs 6.5 crore), and 3 million Euros (about Rs 23 crore) from his bank accounts.
The CBI told PAC, “CPS had suggested that under Section 82 of the CrPC, Ottavio Quattrocchi can be given a declared criminal status and ban could be continued on the funds seized under this section.” At that time, Datta had dismissed the suggestion of CPS stating that they do not have any concrete basis to take the support of the CrPC Section suggested by the CPS lawyer Stephen Hellman.
On December 13, 2006 a discharge order was issued to the banks and on January 16, the Supreme Court had given a decision in favor of continuing the ban on his funding, but till then the money was withdrawn. Quattrocchi had put pressure on UK-based banks to issue funds. Quattrocchi had cited the quashing of cases by the Delhi High Court in 2004 and 2005 against former officials and UK-based industrialist Hindujas. At that time, the CPS had asked the CBI to confirm whether there is any basis for retaining the ban on Quattrocchi’s BSI AG accounts in London. In response, Dutta told CPS that the CBI has not been able to furnish any evidence that Quattrocchi’s funding in the UK is related to the payment received by Quattrocchi from Swedish weapon manufacturer AB Bofors.
The CBI had changed its stand in the Indian courts at that time and had said that it does not want to extend the case against the Italian businessman. Datta had told CPS that the Red Corner Notice issued against Quattrocchi in 1997 is not effective and it is not possible to bring an Italian citizen to India to face the criminal case in view of unsuccessful attempts.
Source: Times of India