Friday, March 4, 2011

Delhi court accepts CBI plea to close case against Quattrocchi

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court has accepted the plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for closure of the criminal case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors payoff scam.
Closure of the case was sought on the basis of failed attempts to extradite Quattrocchi. The trial court said the CBI's plea was allowed in larger public interest.
Government expenditure of Rs 250 crore on the Italian businessman's extradition had played heavily on the court's mind while deciding on the plea, it said.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav had earlier on February 21 deferred his order on the CBI plea seeking withdrawal of the case against Quattrocchi, who has never appeared before any court in India to face trial.
Earlier, the CBI had pleaded before the court that the ruling of income tax appellate tribunal in Bofors pay offs case is 'nothing new' and its application for withdrawing the proceedings against Quattrocchi should be allowed.
An income tax tribunal in its order issued earlier, indicated how much money Quattrocchi and Win Chaddha were paid by Bofors as bribes.
The kickbacks violated rules, as a middleman is illegal in defence deals in India. Therefore, Quattrocchi and Chaddha are liable to pay income tax on bribe money they got while living in India.
It also claimed that due to the kickbacks, India had to pay almost Rs. 160 crore extra for the guns.
The Bofors scandal was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB who were awarded the contract for the supply of 155 mm field howitzers.

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