Friday, September 07, 2007

What actually happened in the Quattrocchi case ?

It is know that Q, the elusive gentleman in the Bofors case, the one who has got the entire Indian law and criminal establishment conspiring to get him off, has friends among the powerful (extremely powerful, given that he is connected to Sonia Gandhi). So, when there was no appeal in the Argentinian High court against his acquittal, people were not surprised; in fact a lot of people would have expected this to happen. What was strange was the way in which nobody was willing to go and say as to how this happened, and where the decision to not go after him further was taken. In fact, the CBI acted as the hurt party in all this, claiming that they were all set to go after him and had no idea as to why the case was dropped.
Well, this report by the Indian Express points out that everybody was involved, with the Law Ministry signing off on the opinion, the CBI being kept in the loop and the external affairs ministry also in the act.

It was none other than the UPA Government’s Law Ministry and its Minister H R Bharadwaj who let Bofors-accused Ottavio Quattrocchi walk free by deciding not to appeal against the Argentine court order rejecting the CBI’s extradition request. An investigation by The Indian Express has revealed that not only was this decision signed and approved by Bharadwaj, the CBI was constantly kept in the loop and was even given copies of the opinion several days before Quattrocchi got his passport back in Buenos Aires on August 15.
After the CBI’s request to file an appeal against the June 8 Eldorado court order rejecting Quattrocchi’s extradition, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) sought the Law Ministry’s opinion. The CBI is now under pressure given that by September 19, as per a direction of a Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, it has to place all documents and details pertaining to Quattrocchi’s release before the Court.

Of course, one cannot fault the CBI or the Law Ministry, or the Department of Personnel. After all, Q was close to the first family of Indian politics, and if Sonia Gandhi has so decreed, then who will take the responsibility of touching him.
If at all, one can in an ideal world expect somebody to act, it should be the CBI. It is after the premier investigating agency of the Government, and should go against crimes, no matter what the pressure. But the CBI has been kept under the department of Training and Personnel, and not independent.
With this, one can be pretty sure that one has heard the last of the Quattrocchi affair.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 8:32 AM