CBI’s action for letting off Quattrocchi challenged in Supreme Court

April 28th, 2009 - 10:01 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Apr 28 (ANI): An application was moved in the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging the Central Bureau of Investigation’s decision to remove the name of the lone surviving suspect in the Bofors payoff case Ottavio Quattrocchi from its list of most wanted persons.

The application filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal sought the direction of the apex court to stay the operation of any withdrawal of red corner notice against Quattrocchi.

Agrawal said the Interpol should be informed immediately so that Quattrocchi could be nabbed and produced before Indian court.

The 12-year Interpol Red Corner Notice against the Italian businessman, has been removed from the “Interpol Notices” section of CBI’s website.

The agency’s decision is based on the legal advice of the Attorney General Milon Banerjee. On October 28, last year, Banerjee had described the RCN as “a continued embarrassment”.

A newspaper report quoted Banerjee as saying, “The CBI is under obligation to have the matters set right at the Interpol level as there is no basis on which the Red Corner Notice can continue. I am of the firm opinion that immediate action should be taken to withdraw the Notice.”

According to sources, the CBI is expected to formally inform the court of its move on April 30.

In October 2008, Quattrocchi’s counsel had asked the CBI to explain the continuation and legal validity of the Red Corner Notice issued by the Interpol Secretariat General.

When the issue came to CBI’s Director (Prosecution) SK Sharma, he said that the notice was no longer applicable as the arrest warrant dated February 6, 1997, on the basis of which the RCN was issued, had been cancelled by a warrant of November 5, 1999.

Sharma suggested that the Law Ministry’s opinion be sought on the issue.

Following Sharma’s recommendation, the Attorney General observed, “The whole purpose of a warrant of arrest is to secure the presence of the accused. This is possible by extradition when the accused is abroad. But two attempts have failed and the judgements indicate that there are no good grounds for extradition. The warrant cannot remain in force forever. Therefore, the warrant dated February 1997 would lose its validity, particularly in view of the failed attempts of the CBI to extradite the accused in Malaysia and Argentina.”

The Bofors scandal was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s, when the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB for winning a bid to supply India’s 155 mm field howitzer.

The scandal was worth Rs. 150 billion. (ANI)

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