The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) order naming Ottavio Quattrocchi as a beneficiary of the Bofors kickbacks has not sapped the CBIs enthusiasm for seeking the courts permission to withdraw proceedings against the Italian middleman. At a Delhi court, the CBI persisted with its known position that the case be closed as all its attempts to secure extradition of the middleman have failed.
The court, which has posted the next hearing in the case to January 6, asked additional solicitor general PP Malhotra whether the CBI has received any fresh instructions after the ITAT order. Malhotra replied that no fresh instructions have been given, even as he sought withdrawal of the case against 70-year-old Quattrocchi.
Supreme Court advocate Ajay Agarwal, who has petitioned against the CBI move, had contended that the matter should be reopened in view of the ITAT order.
The ITAT order, which said that kickbacks of `41 crore were paid to late Win Chaddha and Quattrocchi in the Howitzer gun deal, was placed before the court.
Agarwal, who has been pursuing the case in the Supreme Court and had approached the trial court against the CBIs move to seek a closure of the case, had contended that the government and the agency were trying to close the case despite having sufficient evidence against Quattrocchi .
Meanwhile, the BJP on Tuesday, which used the issue to attack the prime minister, said Manmohan Singh should apologise to the nation for giving Quattrocchi a clean chit. In Burari, the prime minister said Caesars wife should be above suspicion. When the ITAT has exposed that the exoneration of Quattrocchi was wrong, will the prime minister apologise to the nation, BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad asked.
The main Opposition party also brought the Gandhi family into its line of fire by saying that Quattrocchi was bailed out because of his closeness to 10 Janpath.
The CPM said: If the people have to have any confidence that the recent large-scale corruption cases will be investigated and acted upon, the Bofors case will have to be pursued without let-up.