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The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed a 2006 lawsuit against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochi, an alleged recipient of Rs.7 billion kickbacks in the Bofors gun purchase scandal. However, the court has paved the way for filing of a fresh lawsuit against him.

Dismissing the 2006 lawsuit, a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan gave liberty to petitioner Ajay Aggarwal, a Delhi-based advocate, to file a fresh petition against Quattrochi. The bench included Justice Deepak Verma and Justice B.S. Chauhan.

The bench dismissed the old petition on the ground that the original plea for stopping the government from allowing London authorities to defreeze Quattrochi’s bank account there, has become defunct. By the time the lawsuit came up for hearing in 2006, Quattrochi had already withdrawn the money from his London account, the court noted.

The bench also noted that though the petitioner had been raising various demands like seeking directions to the government to have Quattrochi extradited from Argentina after his arrest there in 2007, he failed to secure the objectives of his lawsuits due to fast paced developments in the case.

In the latest instance, Aggarwal had sought to substantially amend his petitions against Quattrochi, but the court observed that he could file a fresh petition with amended prayers.

Seeking amendment to the pleas in his original lawsuit, Aggarwal sought an independent probe into the circumstances leading to the government’s clearance to London authorities to defreeze Quattrochi’s bank account.

Aggarwal also sought to include in his lawsuit a new demand for a high-level probe into why the government failed to have the businessman extradited from Argentina.

He also wanted a probe to ascertain if there was any criminal conspiracy among government authorities behind its decision to withdraw the Red Corner notice against Quattrochi.

Aggarwal wanted the apex court directions to the CBI to withdraw its plea for closure of the case against Quattrochi from the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baveja.

The CBI plea for closure of case against Quattrochi is slated to be heard by Baveja Wednesday.

“I will shortly file a fresh petition with relevant demands against Quattrochi,” Aggarwal told Inditop.


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