A reading of the reports on how the Quattrocchi extradition issue is developing Argentina's sympathy for the Italian businessman, its political compulsions to please Italy, the uncertainty over whether the charges levelled against him are a crime in Argentina, the argument that India has no extradition treaty with Argentina and, above all, the apathy of the court-appointed lawyer to the case gives the impression that the CBI is fighting a losing battle. It appears that Ottavio Quattrocchi will have the last laugh.
Mr. Quattrocchi may be a much-decorated citizen of Italy who has made valuable contributions to his country. That does not mean his actions in India can be overlooked. He may be referred to as II Cavaliere in Italy but he is the prime accused in a scam under the Indian law. The judicial system in India cannot function on the basis of the Italian ambassador's appraisal of Mr. Quattrocchi.
The progress in the investigations in the Bofors case has been sluggishly indecisive for the past two decades, thanks to the benign protection of interested parties.
The CBI's claim that it has a watertight case is at best wishful thinking. If it was so, how did Mr. Quattrocchi leave India in the first place? How did he successfully collect his money from his London bank accounts?
It is evident that someone closely connected with the Bofors deal in India is helping Mr. Quattrocchi escape every time he is close to being cornered. However, I am confident that he will be caught sooner or later.
Mr. Quattrocchi's extradition seems most unlikely if one goes by the media reports. After allowing him to fly away and lifting the freeze on his London accounts, why indulge in this extradition exercise? As suggested by a reader, it would only be fair to put an end to this protracted episode that has already eaten into the taxpayers' money.