Case against CBI's withdrawal of Bofors case adjourned

Ottavio Quattrocchi

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja, who was to deliver the order on Friday, adjourned the matter till March 31, 2010 saying that it did not have the original documents which have been sent to the Supreme Court.

The court had on October 24 deferred its order on the issue till November 6.

The lawyer, Ajay Agarwal, had challenged the CBI's move to withdraw the case on October three, saying it was trying to close the "politically-sensitive" case despite having "sufficient evidence" against him.

CBI had sought the legal burial of the case against Quattrocchi, 69, on the ground that "continuance of his prosecution will be unjustified".

The agency had said it has arrived at this conclusion after its failure on two occasions to extradite the businessman from Malaysia and Argentina to face trial.

The CBI, which also relied on various other factors including the Delhi High Court judgements quashing charges against all other co-accused to justify its decision, had said that the application to withdraw the case has been filed in "good faith and in public interest".

Agarwal had questioned the propriety of government counsels alleging that Solicitor General (SG) Gopal Subramanium and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P P Malhotra, who are representing the CBI now, had appeared for Win Chaddha, one of the accused, before different courts here.

CBI counsels had submitted that "publicity and politics have no role to play in such matters and such a petition cannot be entertained. The petitioners (advocates) are strangers to the investigation and prosecution. They, therefore, have no locus standi".

Agarwal had countered their plea by saying that the Supreme Court had already accepted his locus in the Bofors case by accepting appeal filed by him against a Delhi High Court verdict.

Another advocate Jitender Soni had also moved the court opposing the CBI's withdrawal of the case against the Italian businessman. Quattrocchi, the sole surviving accused in the case after the Delhi High Court quashed the charges on May 31, 2005 against other accused, has never appeared before any court in the country.

CBI had failed on two occasions in its attempt to extradite Quattrocchi -- first from Malaysia in 2003 and then from Argentina in 2007. In November last year, the agency had asked the Interpol to take Quattrocchi's name off the Red Corner notice.

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