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No role in defreezing Quattrocchi's account: Govt

By Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) The government today said that it had no role in defreezing the two London bank accounts of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the Bofors payoffs case, and said the matter was between the CBI and the Crown Prosecution of the UK.

Intervening on behalf of the government during the debate on the President's Address, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachouri told the Lok Sabha that the guilty and corrupt, whether in politics or elsewhere, would not be spared.

He said the government had not influenced the CBI, and the hearing in the Quattrocchi case would come up before the court on March 21.

''We have full faith in the court and the CBI,'' Mr Pachouri said, accusing the Opposition of raking up the issue to gain political mileage.

He charged that the ''bankrupt'' Opposition had no real issue, and had indulged in mud-slinging campaign to defame late Rajiv Gandhi.

The Minister said he was armed with documents and other proofs, and would bring them before the House to establish to forces and powers which were out to defame the former Prime Minister.

Mr Pachouri clarified that the case against Quattrocchi had not been closed, and the CBI was still investigating it.

The BJP members were often on their feet on some of the remarks made by Mr Pachouri, but Speaker Somnath Chatterjee maintained that nothing except the Minister's statement would go on record.

Mr Chatterjee also said that BJP Deputy Leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who had given a notice on the issue, had agreed to Mr Pachouri's intervention.

The BJP members, led by Leader of the Oppositon L K Advani, had earlier trooped to the well, demanding that they want a clarification only from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House twice, once during Question Hour and later during Zero Hour.

Mr Pachouri asked if the NDA had evidence in the case, then why it did not prosecute the quilty when it was in power.

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