Legal Correspondent

CBI failed to get Quattrocchi extradited, alleges petitioner

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to produce in the court the orders passed by the El Dorado Court of Argentina on June 8 in the extradition case of Ottavio Quattrocchi, accused in the “Rs. 64 cr. Bofors pay-off case.”

A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justices C.K. Thakker and R.V. Raveendran gave this direction on an application from advocate Ajay Agarwal alleging that the appeal filed in the Supreme Court of Argentina against the June 8 order refusing extradition of Quattrocchi was withdrawn at the instance of the Government of India.

Mr. Agarwal, who had earlier challenged the defreezing of the accounts of Quattrocchi, has filed this application in the same petition questioning the Central government’s decision to withdraw its appeal in the Supreme Court of Argentina.

‘Disclose opinions’

The application also sought a direction to disclose the “opinions” of CBI officials as also of the Law Officers who all allegedly favoured Quattrocchi, besides the pleadings made by both sides before the court in Argentina in Quattrocchi’s extradition case and the correspondence relating to the defreezing of his accounts.

Appearing in person, Mr. Agarwal alleged that the CBI had “deliberately” failed in getting Quattrocchi extradited to India.

Quoting newspaper reports, he said that the Argentine Public Prosecutor hired by the government in March to press for Quattrocchi’s extradition, Lilian Delgado, had confirmed that the Indian government had decided to withdraw the appeal and the appeal was withdrawn.

To a question from the Bench whether India had an extradition treaty with Argentina, Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanian, appearing for the Centre, said, “There was no extradition treaty. We only made a request to the Argentine government.”

The Bench told the petitioner, “we cannot act on newspaper reports. We have to go through the orders passed by the El Dorado court to know why the extradition request was rejected.” The ASG said, “we will get the order, translate it into English and produce it in the court.” The Bench in its brief order asked the Centre to file the order copy in four weeks and adjourned the proceedings till then.