Did Centre and CBI ask that accounts be de-freezed, asks Bench
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Government and the Central Bureau of Investigation to take steps to "re-freeze" the two London bank accounts of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, accused in the Rs. 64-crore Bofors payoffs case. A three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Justice C.K. Thakker and Justice R.V. Raveendran made it clear that if the bank had already de-freezed the accounts, the Government and the CBI must ensure that Mr. Quattrocchi did not withdraw money until further orders.
The Bench issued notice, asking the Government and the CBI to file by January 23 an affidavit explaining their stand on the petition filed by Ajay Agarwal, a lawyer who brought to the court's notice the de-freezing of the accounts.
The Bench told Additional-Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the Centre, that steps should be taken for maintaining status quo on Mr. Quattrocchi's accounts, which were frozen in July 2003 at the Government's request.
"Till further orders we direct the Centre and the CBI to take necessary steps for maintenance of status quo on the accounts in question so that de-freezing does not take place. If de-freezing has already taken place, the amounts should not be allowed to be withdrawn."