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Bofors: UK may defreeze Quattrocchi's accounts

Source: PTI
Last updated on: January 11, 2006 21:58 IST
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After years of legal wrangling in various courts in the United Kingdom, the Central Bureau of Investigation has finally told the British authorities that the agency did not have any evidence to link the frozen three million Euros and one million Dollars of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in two bank accounts in London with the Bofors payoff case.

Highly placed agency sources said that Additional Solicitor General B Datta had visited the Crown Prosecutor Service in Britain and informed them about the CBI's stand that no evidence was available with the agency to link the money.

Bofors, the smoking gun: Complete Coverage

A British court had ordered in July 2003 that the two bank accounts - 5A51 51516L and 5A5151516M - with BSIAG Bank, London having three million Euros and one million Dollars respectively would continue to remain frozen.

The CBI move might lead to deferring of the two accounts.     

The Italian businessman had appealed against the freeze in various courts but failed to get any reprieve. However, the Court of Appeal in UK, which is part of the Supreme Court of Judicature, had upheld the High Court's order dismissing Quattrocchi's petition with cost of 38,460 Pounds to be paid to the prosecution out of the frozen funds.

The Crown Prosecution Service of Britain, which was arguing the case on behalf of the CBI, has also informed the British High Court about the decision of the agency, the sources said.

The prosecution had argued that the money could not be released, as there was an immediate need to probe its source following the CBI allegation that it was part of the payment that Quattrocchi had got from Bofors. Following this, the CBI had also sought Letters Rogatory for Bahamas to ascertain the route of the money.

CBI had contended in its petition to British authorities in 2003 that Quattrocchi, one of the main accused in the Rs 64 crore Bofors scam, "in a deceitful manner...had been transferring the funds from one account to another to evade detection by the law."

CBI had also claimed that it was believed that 'the amount of three million Pounds stashed in the accounts was a part of $73.43 lakh paid to him (Quattrochhi) by A B Bofors through A E Services."

Quattrocchi had maintained in the past that he was not involved in Bofors payoffs and that he was being targeted for political reasons. Meanwhile, private television channel CNN-IBN claimed that the CBI Director (Prosecution) had recommended that a appeal be not filed against the Delhi High Court's order given in May 2005, which exonerated the Hinduja brothers.

"It would really be a travesty of justice and fair play if the accused are forced to face trial without any definite time frame. I am not inclined to recommend a special leave petition against the order," a release of the TV network claimed was written by the Director Prosecution on the file.

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