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Quattrocchi is like Dawood, don't protect him: Advani to gov

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) Equating Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the Bofors case, with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Mr L K Advani (BJP) today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to clarify the contradictory statements of the CBI and the government on the defreezing of the two London bank accounts the Italian businessman.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha after question hour, Mr Advani also wanted to know why the government did not appeal against Delhi High Court's exoneration of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Hinduja brothers in the Bofors case, though the CBI had wanted to get expunged the court's adverse remarks against it through an appeal.

''There should be no one in the government who has any soft corner for this kind of a fugitive (Quattrocchi),'' Mr Advani said.

The issue led to two brief adjournments of the House, once during question hour and later during zero hour. The second adjournment till 1400 hrs came at 1240 hrs as the slogan-shouting Opposition members trooped into the well of the House, demanding that the Prime Minister make a clarification, instead of asking Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Personnel Suresh Pachouri to respond.

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said the Opposition was stalling the proceedings deliberately after getting an opportunity to make its point, thereby denying a chance to the government to reply. He said he could not force the government to choose a particular Minister to respond as demanded by the Opposition.

In his 20-minute speech, Mr Advani, who is Leader of Opposition in the House, said the contradictory statements had made it clear that either the CBI was misleading the court which was holding trial in the Bofors case or UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was misleading the Left parties or the Prime Minister was misleading the nation.

While the CBI had informed the trial court just two months ago that the red corner notice against Quattrocchi was still valid and it wanted to pursue the case, the Prime Minister had stated that he had no knowledge about the defreezing of the accounts and it was the CBI's decision.

Further, Law Minister H R Bhardwaj had stated that there was virtually no evidence against Quattrocchi while Ms Gandhi had an hour-long meeting with CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri, who also wanted to know the reason for the defreezing of the accounts.

Ms Gandhi reportedly told Mr Yechuri that she had no prior knowledge about the CBI move.

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