The Centre’s decision, as informed to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, to withdraw the Bofors pay-off case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi came under sharp attack from the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. However, the Congress said it signalled an end to a campaign of disinformation and innuendoes of 23 years.

The Centre’s decision, as informed to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, to withdraw the Bofors pay-off case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi came under sharp attack from the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. However, the Congress said it signalled an end to a campaign of disinformation and innuendoes of 23 years.

The BJP accused the Congress government of bailing out Mr. Quattrocchi as he knew “too much.”

“In the Bofors case, the government is always trying to bail out Quattrocchi as he knows too much. That is the reason why he is being completely bailed out like this,” BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said alleging that it confirmed the conspiracy of UPA-I and UPA-II governments to bury the Bofors case for good.

“CBI not allowed to appeal”

Citing earlier instances where the Congress-led UPA government had allegedly helped the Italian businessman, Mr. Prasad said the CBI was not allowed to file an appeal against the Delhi High Court order of 2005. Later, in Argentina, where Mr. Quattrocchi was detained, an order was passed refusing his extradition to India but the CBI did not file an appeal, he said.

“The money in a London bank account of Mr. Quattrocchi was released in his favour based on a collusive legal advice procured from an unknown Additional Solicitor-General and the then Law Minister had publicly said there is no case,” the BJP leader said.

Defending the National Democratic Alliance government’s role in trying to unravel the Bofors scam, Mr. Prasad said, “Till we came to power in 1998, no action had been taken at all. We ensured that the charge sheet was filed and matter moved to the Supreme Court. Now the government is bailing out all accused in the Bofors case.”

Legal scrutiny

On the other hand, the Congress spokesman Manish Tewari accused the Opposition of flogging a dead horse. Neither in India nor abroad the Bofors case had withstood legal scrutiny.

“A number of political careers and reputations of opposition was built on character assassination and innuendoes. When the NDA government was in power from 1998 to 2004, they repeatedly went to court in Malaysia but were not able to build a case for Mr. Quattrocchi’s extradition,” Mr. Tewari said.

He said that if the CBI, in its wisdom based on the facts and circumstances of the case, had finally come to the conclusion that nothing more could be done, then it should be respected. A campaign of disinformation and innuendoes of 23 years was coming to an end, he said.

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