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Don't withdraw Red Corner notice: Fernandes

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George Fernandes
George Fernandes

Special Correspondent

"CBI playing games with people"

NEW DELHI: Janata Dal (United) leader George Fernandes on Tuesday warned the Government and the CBI against making any attempt to withdraw the Red Corner notice on Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the Bofors payoffs case.

In a statement, he said the Supreme Court and the people should ensure that no attempt was made by the Government or the CBI to withdraw the notice to put an end to the "Quattrocchi matter."

According to the former Defence Minister, the CBI, under the United Progressive Alliance Government's direction, was "playing games" with the people. Stating that the CBI need not have spent time on verifying the identity of Mr. Quattrocchi, he pointed out: "As soon as a person is detained by Interpol in response to a red alert, his/her picture appears on the screen and regularly flashes there, and the entire description, including the colour of the eyes, is given. This is accompanied by a short telex to the initiating agency."

"Stalling device"

The time the CBI took to verify the identity of Mr. Quattrocchi was in the opinion of Mr. Fernandes "a stalling device put out for public consumption only." Also, he questioned why the CBI was searching "in vain" all over the world for Mr. Quattrocchi when his son, Massimo Quattrocchi, was in India for most of this month on business.

Further, Mr. Fernandes wanted to know from Congress president Sonia Gandhi whether she or any member of her family had any contact with Mr. Massimo Quattrocchi during his stay in India.

He asked the Government whether it would explain to the people why information regarding Mr. Quattrocchi's detention was kept secret from the people and the Supreme Court for 17 days.

The former Minister wanted the CBI to demonstrate its sincerity in pursuing the case by inviting Sten Lindstrom senior police officer in charge of the Bofors investigation in Sweden to India with all documents and evidence in his possession to assist it in the case.


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