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After AG's clean chit, CBI told court: Q wanted man

After AG's clean chit, CBI told court: Q wanted man

Author: Utkarsh Anand
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: April 30, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/after-ags-clean-chit-cbi-told-court-q-wan/452900/

When the CBI goes to the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Delhi today hearing the Ottavio Quattrocchi Bofors case, it may have a lot of explaining to do.

For, its claim that it went by Attorney General Milon Banerji's opinion to withdraw the Red Corner Notice (RCN) against accused Quattrocchi flies in the face of the agency's last statement to the court.

Records show that on November 20, 2008, more than three weeks after Banerji's opinion (October 24, 2008), the CBI told the court: "The RCN against Ottavio Quattrocchi is still in existence and the CBI is taking up the matter for extradition of the accused."

This despite the fact, as reported by The Indian Express and confirmed by Law Minister H R Bhardwaj, that the stage was being set for the RCN's withdrawal right from the time Quattrocchi complained about it after walking free in Argentina in June 2007.

When asked why the court was kept in the dark about the AG's opinion, CBI spokesperson Harsh Bhal said: "The agency will present its version before the court. We will answer all queries to the judge."

When contacted, CBI counsel U S Prasad said: "I am yet to receive directions from the CBI headquarters over the matter. You will have to wait till tomorrow."

While the CBI has been silent since that November 2008 submission, the agency had, on February 29, 2008, also echoed the same line: the RCN was operational and efforts were on to bring Quattrocchi to India.

That's not all.

On July 28, 2007, the CBI told the Delhi court that the court in El Dorado, Argentina, had, on June 9, turned down India's plea to extradite Quattrocchi.

But on October 12, 2007 - four months after Quattrocchi walked free in Argentina - the CBI curiously told the court that its appeal was pending adjudication.

This despite the fact that the appeal had been withdrawn from the Argentine Supreme Court, once again based on the advice of the Law Ministry and the Law Minister Bhardwaj.

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