The Supreme Court will hear on February 16 a petition filed by an advocate who, seeking the extradition of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, accused in the Bofors payoffs case, questioned Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation.
During the resumed hearing on Thursday before a Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices B.S. Chauhan and Justice C.K. Prasad, petitioner-advocate Ajay Agrawal said he had already given a complaint to the Bar Council of India against Mr. Subramaniam as he was counsel for the late Win Chadha, who was accused of acting as a middleman in the gun deal.
Counsel said he had serious objections to Mr. Subramaniam appearing in the case. For, before becoming law officer for the government in 2004, Mr. Subramaniam represented Win Chadha.
Mr. Subramaniam replied that Win Chadha had died almost a decade ago. However, Mr. Agrawal asked: “When the issue arising out of the case was pending in trial court and this court, how can an advocate, who was defence counsel, turn up for the prosecution?”
The CJI told counsel: “Some of your prayers in the petition have become infructuous.” But Mr. Agrawal said several developments had taken place and the hearing of the CBI application in the trial court for withdrawing the case against Mr. Quattrocchi had been fixed for March 31.
Initially, Mr. Agrawal filed the petition in 2006 seeking directions for the CBI to stop unfreezing of Quattrocchi’s accounts in a bank in London. Thereafter, he wanted the CBI to take steps to extradite Mr. Quattrocchi.