Bofors case: Court to decide Quattrocchi''s fate tomorrow

New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) The fate of the overtwo-decade-old, politically sensitive Bofors payoff caseagainst Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi is likely tobe decided tomorrow by a Delhi court.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav will pronouncehis order on CBI''s plea seeking withdrawal of the case against70-year-old Quattrocchi, who has never appeared before anycourt in India to face trial.

The CBI had, in October 2009, sought permission of thecourt to withdraw the case against Quattrocchi, saying thathis continued prosecution was "unjustified" in the light ofvarious factors including the agency''s failed attempts toextradite him.

The CBI had failed twice in extraditing him -- firstfrom Malaysia in 2003 and then from Argentina in 2007.

A charge sheet was filed against Quattrocchi forallegedly receiving a payoff for brokering the Bofors gundeal.

The CBI had registered a criminal case on January 20,1990 to probe who were the beneficiaries of the payoffs in the1986 Bofors gun deal.

After completing its probe, the agency had filed twocharge sheets in the case -- first on October 22, 1999 and theother on October 9, 2000.

The CBI had contended that there was no change in thegovernment''s stand on withdrawing the case against Quattrocchiin the wake of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) order,which had said that kickbacks of Rs 61 crore were paid to lateWin Chaddha and Quattrocchi in the Howitzer gun deal.

"The continuance of prosecution against Quattrocchi willbe unjustified. It is considered expedient in the interest ofjustice that the proceedings against him should not becontinued and be withdrawn," CBI had pleaded in its nine-pageapplication seeking withdrawal of case.

Advocate Ajay Agrawal, who has been pursuing the case inthe Supreme Court and had approached the trial court againstCBI''s move to seek a closure of the case, has contended in thecourt that the Centre and the agency were trying to close thecase despite having sufficient evidence against Quattrocchi.

The plea was countered by the CBI which said it wasdifficult to secure presence of Quattrocchi for prosecutionand, moreover, all other accused are either dead or chargesagainst them have been quashed by the Delhi High Court. PTIABA AAC RAX DEP ZMN

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