The special court hearing arguments on the plea for closing the over two-decade-old Bofors case on Thursday questioned the bona fide of the Central Bureau of Investigation in de-freezing Ottavio Quattrocchi's bank account in London and giving up attempts to get him extradited to face prosecution in the case.
The investigating agency has sought closure of the prosecution proceedings against the lone surviving accused, Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, arguing that its plea was “bona fide, in good faith and in public interest.”
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Vinod Yadav said there were “certain mala fide intentions” on the CBI's part in its plea to close the case.
“I agree that there are certain mala fide intentions in the case and there is no doubt in that,'' Mr. Yadav observed.
The CMM made this remark when advocate Ajay Agarwal opposing the CBI's plea submitted that the agency's only intention was to protect Mr. Quattrocchi.
Charging the agency with mala fide intentions in de-freezing the bank account of Mr. Quattrocchi, the CMM observed: “I understand that several mala fide intentions were there in de-freezing the bank account of Quattrocchi.”
It also pulled it up for its failure to extradite Mr. Quattrocchi to face trial.
The court also dismissed the plea of the agency that the advocate had locus standi to intervene in the matter.
It allowed Mr. Agarwal to inspect the judicial file of the case to prepare for his further argument despite protest by the agency.
Additional Solicitor-General P.P. Malhotra representing the CBI reiterated the known stand that there was no change of mind on closing the case after the order by the Income Tax Tribunal Authority on the tax liability of late Win Chadha and Mr. Quattrocchi on the kickbacks paid to them by the then A.B. Bofors for brokering the gun deal in its favour. Mr. Malhotra described the order irrelevant.
The court will hear further arguments on February 10.