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Court to decide Quattrocchi's fate tomorrow
A Delhi court will pronounce the order in Bofors payoff case against Ottavio Quattrocchi.
New Delhi: A Delhi court is likely to decide on Friday the fate of the over two-decade-old Bofors payoff case against elusive Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav will pronounce his order on the CBI's plea seeking withdrawal of the case against 70-year-old Quattrocchi, who has never appeared before any court in India to face trial.
The court, which was to decide on the CBI plea on February 21, had deferred it to March 4.
Advocate Ajay K Agrawal, who is opposing the agency's move, has filed the written arguments alleging Massimo Quattrocchi, son of the Italian businessman, has been visiting India "almost every month for 8 to 10 days and still doing a middleman's job as was earlier done by his father."
"The CBI application does not fulfil the three basic requirements that is bonafide, good faith and public interest and that the government and the CBI are in collusion with Quattrocchi and the plea is filed to bail him out and if it is allowed, he will come to India and start his operations of a middleman," Agrawal said in his written submissions.
The CBI had, in October 2009, sought permission of the court to withdraw the case against Quattrocchi, saying that his continued prosecution was "unjustified" in the light of various factors including the agency's failed attempts to extradite him.
The agency had failed twice in getting him extradited - first from Malaysia in 2003 and then from Argentina in 2007. He is accused of allegedly receiving a payoff for brokering the Bofors gun deal.
The agency had registered a criminal case on January 20, 1990 to probe who were the beneficiaries of the payoffs in the 1986 Bofors gun deal.
After completing its probe, the agency had filed two charge sheets in the case - first on October 22, 1999 and the other on October 9, 2000.
The CBI had contended that there was no change in the government's stand on withdrawing the case against Quattrocchi in the wake of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) order, which had said that kickbacks of Rs 61 crore were paid to late Win Chaddha and Quattrocchi in the Howitzer gun deal.
"The continuance of prosecution against Quattrocchi will be unjustified. It is considered expedient in the interest of justice that the proceedings against him should not be continued and be withdrawn," the CBI had pleaded in its nine-page application seeking withdrawal of case. Agrawal, however, had contended that the Centre and the agency were trying to close the case despite having sufficient evidence against Quattrocchi.
The plea was countered by the CBI which has said it was difficult to secure presence of Quattrocchi for prosecution and, moreover, all other accused were either dead or charges against them had been quashed by the Delhi High Court.
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