Law Minister denies attempt to save Quattrocchi

April 28th, 2009 - 7:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Apr 28 (ANI): Union Law Minister H R Bhardwaj on Tuesday dismissed BJP leader L K Advani’s allegation that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was working at the behest of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government and clarified that no attempt has been made to save Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, the lone surviving suspect in the Bofors payoff case.

Addressing a news conference here, Bhardwaj said the decision to drop Quattrocchi’s name from Interpol’s list of most wanted persons was taken entirely by foreign agencies and there was no government involvement in the matter.

Clarifying that the Interpol is a foreign police organisation, he said, “I have made it clear that he was arrested without warrant. He was arrested outside and the third country court has decided this. Interpol is not our police and it is their decision. Interpol is a foreign agency. There is no attempt to save him. Law works in accordance to its rules and procedures and not on the directions of an individual or a political party.”

Earlier, Advani had attacked the Congress party for being the leading force behind the Central Bureau of Investigation’s decision to give a clean chit to Quattrocchi.

He had also held both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi “guilty” for the removal of Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) against the Italian businessman.

Meanwhile, Harsh Bahl, a spokesperson of the CBI, said the CBI has taken its decision on the legal advice of the highest order.

“The case has been under trial in the courts since 1999. CBI has takenaction on the basis of the legal advice of the highest order. We will informthe competent court on the next date of hearing that is 30th April 2009,”said Bahl.

Quattrocchi is accused of receiving seven million dollars as bribe as a middleman in the 1.2 billion dollar purchase of artillery from Swedish arms maker Bofors AB in 1986 for the Indian Army. He has denied any wrongdoing.

He left India in the early 1990s and lived in Malaysia and Europe. He wassought for questioning by the CBI under a Interpol red-corner arrestnotice.

The Bofors arms scandal dented the reputation of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and contributed to the fall of his government in the 1989 general elections. (ANI)

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