Ottavio Quattrocchi

DIED OottaviIo QuattrocchiI, 74, Bofors scam main accused who never stood trial, ending 25-year saga. Courts gave up, dissed CBI's spending of “ Rs 250 cr probing a Rs 64-crore scam”.

Middleman Quattrocchi

Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi and his wife Maria Quattrocchi arrive at a courthouse in Kuala Lumpur. Quattrocchi appeared in court to fight India's attempt to extradite him from Malaysia for his alleged involvement in the Bofors gun deal.

Andy Wong/ AP

Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi leaves the High Court in Kuala Lumpur. Lawyers representing the Indian government on Wednesday lost the right to be present in court alongside Malaysian prosecutors in a case involving the Italian businessman wanted by India as a suspect in a 16-year-old arms scandal.

Andy Wong/ AP

Friday 8 June
Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi is congratulated by his lawyer Alejandro Freeland after his final court hearing as his other lawyer Adolfo Tamini looks on at El Dorado in Misiones, Argentina. Thanks to series of 'clean chits' given to him by the various law officials of the UPA government, the Indian government once again failed in its efforts to get Quattrocchi extradited to India as the Argentine court declined to entertain its request in this regard. The decision was given by Judge Harichi Doi of the First Court after two days of arguments by lawyers for CBI who strongly pleaded his extradition in connection with the twenty-year old Bofors scam. The court has however barred Quattraocchi for leaving Argentina till June 18 so that India can approach the Supreme Court in Buenos Aires to challenge the judgment. India's quest for this extradition began four months ago when Quattrocchi was 'secretly' detained on February 6 in the Misiones province on the basis of an Interpol alert. This is the second time that India has failed to get him extradited. About six years ago, a Malaysian Court had rejected India's request after he was detained in Kuala Lumpur on the basis of a similar Interpol alert. Back in India, the BJP slammed the Congress-led UPA government for botching up the plea for his deportation to face trial in India while, the Congress, as expected, tried to was off its hands from CBI's failure saying it has "nothing to do" with the development.

AP Photo/John Fernandes

Friday 23 March
Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, wanted by India in connection with the Bofors arms scandal, and his lawyer Alejandro Freeland, arrive in a court at El Dorado in Misiones, Argentina. Less than two months after he was detained in Iguazo International Airport, about 100 km in the Misiones province, on an Interpol Red Corner notice, Quattrocchi appeared before the judge in the First Court of city and opposed the extradition efforts by the CBI saying the Bofors payoffs case "is not about criminal offences, it is about politics." The court has adjourned hearing to an unspecified date when both Quattrocchi and the CBI will be asked to present evidence and arguments, a procedure that is expected to take between two and four months to complete. The 69-year-old Italian businessman was detained on February 6 when he was on his way to Brazil. He was released on bail on February 23 but his passport has been impounded.

AP Photo/John Fernandes

Friday 23 February
And as usual, the brazen Congress was happy providing certificates of autonomy to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which saw it fit to release the news of controversial Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi's detention the day he was released on bail in Argentina, almost almost a year after asking the British Crown Prosecution Service to de-freeze his sealed bank account and allowing him to transfer money from there. Quattrocchi, against whom an Interpol Red Corner Notice had been issued, was detained on February 6 at Iguazu international airport while in transit to Buenos Aires, but the news of his detention was kept under wraps perhaps, as the opposition BJP suggests with good reason, to prevent it from being made into an election issue in Punjab and Uttarakhand. The Supreme Court too has called it "a serious matter" and asked the government to file its reply and status report on the matter within a week. The 69-year-old Quattrocchi, who was close to the Gandhi family, was alleged to have received kickbacks from the Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors for the contract to sell 155mm howitzer guns to the Indian army.

Wednesday 11 January
The ghost of Bofors is back to haunt the Congress as a controversial de-freezing of the two bank accounts of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in London containing three million Euros and one million dollars puts the law minister and the CBI in the centre of a spiralling political controversy. It first came to light that the law ministry informed the Crown Prosecution in Britain through the Additional Solicitor General of India that there was no material or evidence that the CBI had against Quottorocchi. Newspaper reports indicated that CBI was of the categorical opinion that there was sufficient material to prosecute Quottorocchi and that there was further material to link these two accounts to the Bofors pay-backs. But the law minister gave an unequivocal clean chit to Q which was followed by the CBI falling in line and maintaining officially that it did not have any evidence to link the money with the case, and that in any case the case would not be weakened by this defreezing. And then it transpired that the defreeze of the accounts had actually been ordered by the High Court in London on January 11 itself, the day the press had got wind of the story. And the day after, that is today, a three member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal instructed the government and CBI to ensure that Quattrocchi does not withdraw the amounts from his accounts if they are already defrozen. That is, if any thing is left in those accounts by now. Locking the stable after the horse has bolted?