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Quattrocchi asks for immediate end to case

Source: PTI
January 16, 2006 13:35 IST
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Breaking his silence, Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi Monday said it would be in India's interest to bring the case against him in Bofors payoffs to an end since Central Bureau of Investigation has found no proof to link him with it and the British authorities were left with no option, but to defreeze his accounts.

"I believe it would be in interest of justice and India's reputation if this case against me is brought to an end," he said in a statement issued from Milan in Italy as the controversy rages in India over the defreezing of his bank accounts in London.

Quattrocchi, an accused in the Rs 64 crore alleged kickbacks in Bofors gun deal, said, "The Bofors case has been probed for almost 20 years by the CBI, the leading investigating agency well-connected worldwide, and no proof has been found to link me with Bofors. I am the victim of a political campaign waged by a political party against the Gandhi family," he said without elaborating.

On the issue of defreezing his accounts in a London bank, Quattrocchi said, "As the CBI, after almost three years, was not in a position to show evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, the UK authorities were left with no option but to defreeze my accounts. I believe this is the least that could have been done."

Observing that he was "pained" at the "disinformation" carried out by a section of the Indian press, which "fails to report full facts of the story concerning the case", he said some of the Indian media seems to have forgotten that between 2000 and 2003, he had won all court battles initiated by the CBI for his extradition from Malaysia, a place where he had established business.

Quattrocchi said the CBI had filed appeal after appeal up to the federal court and all the four judgements went in his favour.

Besides the four Malaysian court verdicts, there were two significant judgements by Delhi high court -- one in February 2004 and the other in May 2005 -- which established beyond any doubt that in the Bofors case "there was no corruption i.e. no public officials were bribed and there was no cheating; all, even the Bofors company, were completely cleared of all charges", he said.

"At this point, my question to the CBI is: How could I be involved in Bofors case?" he asked.

Quattrocchi said following information from London police, the CBI had requested the UK authorities to temporarily (six to 12 months) freeze the accounts pending a fresh probe by the agency.

"While the agency travelled several times around the world to ascertain, as a first step, whether my money could be linked with Bofors, my solicitors in London were pressing the UK authorities to either show proof that I had done something wrong or defreeze my money," he added.

The Italian businessman said, "I am proud of having contributed to the industrial development of India where our four children were conceived and where three of them were born."

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