The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Thursday told a court that despite the income tax tribunal ruling that kickbacks had indeed been paid in the Bofors deal, there was no change in its stand to close cases against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, one of the alleged recipients of the bribe.
CBI’s lawyer, Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra told a special CBI court that he has instructions from the government to state this before the court.
On Monday, the IT appellate tribunal ruled that Quattrocchi and his partner Win Chadha (who is now dead) did get commission of over Rs.412 million in the gun deal.
The CBI had in 1999 charged former defence secretary S.K. Bhatnagar, Quattrocchi, Chadha, former Bofors chief Martin Ardbo and the company in connection with the kickbacks case.
Bhatnagar, Ardbo and Chadha are dead. Quattrocchi – who has never appeared before any court in India – is the only surviving accused.
The agency has failed on two occasions to get Quattrocchi extradited — first from Malaysia in 2003 and then from Argentina in 2007 — after which it said there was no real purpose in going ahead with the case.
At the last hearing of the CBI special court Tuesday, the judge asked CBI counsel whether they had received any fresh directive from the government in the light of the tribunal’s order.