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Quattrocchi's case will fall in court: Senior law official
January 17, 2006 18:50 IST
Amidst a raging controversy over the defreezing of bank accounts of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, a senior law officer of the Government has opined that the Central Bureau of Investigation had no authentic evidence to connect Quattrocchi with the alleged Bofors payoff case and it could not stand in a court of law.
"The CBI was unable to show that the funds (Rs 21 crore frozen in the UK bank) had any link with the offence alleged. It is clear that even as regards Quattrocchi, on a parity of reasoning, there is no authentic evidence to connect him with the alleged offence and the case against him cannot stand in a court of law," Additional Solicitor General K P Pathak has said. The opinion was given to CBI in October 2005 on whether the agency should file a Special Leave Petition against the Delhi High Court's order discharging the Hinduja brothers.
Pathak, while ruling out filing an SLP against the brothers, commented on Quattrochi's case and had said that in light of Malaysian court's turning down of extradition request, "Fresh extradition proceedings against Quattrocchi would, in my view be misconceived." He noted that there were no documents in the case of Quattrocchi from which the prosecution could derive any benefit and make out a case for filing an SLP against the Hinduja brothers and others.
"I was surprised to find that even in Quattrocchi's case, the purported documents without due authentication have been relied on, and there are no other duly authenticated documents originating from Sweden available on the record," the ASG had said.
He also said that the confiscated documents by the Swedish authority had since been returned to its owners and the same had also been communicated to the CBI by the Ministry of Justice of the Swedish Government in July 2005. The CBI officers also told the ASG that they had not made any written request to the Swedish authority to retain the original documents with them.
Referring to the extradition proceedings against the Italian businessman, Pathak said "the judicial proceedings in Malaysia has acquired finality... Quattrocchi, whose extradition has been refused by the competent court of the requested state (Malaysia) cannot be a fugitive criminal.
In that situation, a fresh extradition proceedings against Quattrochi would be my view be misconceived."
Commenting on the evidence of the CBI in Bofors payoff case, he said the CBI had failed in following the procedure prescribed under the Indian Evidence Act thereby "frustrating the entire proceedings, initiated by it and in the process wasted time and public money."
"In the absence of any authenticated documents in terms of the Evidence Act, I am of the opinion, that proceedings against all the accused persons such as Hinduja, Bofors and Quattrocchi will be nothing but an abuse of the process of the court," he said.