The CBI team is short of a legal interlocutor
Extradition request made in a timely fashion: CBI Director of Prosecutions List of names of top Argentine lawyers forwarded to India
Buenos Aires: India has formally requested the Argentine Government to extradite Ottavio Quattrocchi, the prime accused in the Bofors kickbacks case. Buenos Aires is expected to give its reply in a week on whether India's request is receivable. The request was made at a meeting with officials and legal experts from the Argentine Foreign Ministry here. The meeting took place on the afternoon of March 1, some five hours after the CBI team landed here in pelting rain.
India was represented by CBI Director of Prosecutions S.K. Sharma and Superintendent of Police Keshav Mishra, accompanied by Indian Ambassador Pramathesh Rath. The meeting, during which the CBI team handed over some 250 documents, lasted a mere 20 minutes. "We were received by the head of the Asia division and later introduced to the legal team," Mr. Rath told The Hindu . "They told us that they would get back to us next week. India of course agreed to the principle of reciprocity. Which means that if Argentina were one day to extradite someone from India, we too would give it the same due consideration," Mr. Rath said.
Mr. Mishra expressed satisfaction that the extradition request "has been made in a timely fashion, even ahead of schedule." Mr. Quattrocchi was arrested on February 6 and according to Argentine law, India had exactly one month from the date of arrest to file an official extradition request.
Although the CBI team remains in Buenos Aires, "today is a quiet day with nothing much happening," Mr. Rath said. A panel of names of top Argentine lawyers has been forwarded to the Government of India and the team is now waiting for instructions on whom to hire. Until a response comes from India and a local lawyer is appointed, the CBI team is short of a legal interlocutor, since the court-appointed lawyer Carlos Daneri expressed his disinterest in the case.
When questioned on this, Mr. Rath said: "He has been appointed by the court. He will have to be briefed."
Informed sources indicate that Italy has put strong pressure on the Argentine Government to obtain the release of Mr. Quattrochi, a much decorated citizen of Italy. The Hindu has obtained a copy of the verdict of the appellate court in Posadas that ordered Mr. Quattrocchi's release. The document said both the Italian Ambassador to Argentina Stefano Ronca and the Consul-General in the town of Rosario had vouched for Mr. Quattrocchi. The former through a letter sent directly to the court and the latter when he deposed before the court in person.