The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CBI team in Bofors rush

New Delhi, Nov. 2: A CBI team today rushed to London to brief the crown prosecutor general on an upcoming case involving Bofors scam-accused Ottavio Quattrocchi whose two bank accounts have been frozen.

A London court is expected to begin the trial on Tuesday.

The CBI had alleged that the £3 million (equivalent to Rs 21 crore) that the Italian businessman had kept in the two bank accounts were part of the proceeds of the kickback received during the Bofors Howitzer gun deal.

Responding to a CBI request through Interpol, the British government had frozen the accounts, which are in Quattrocchi’s as well as his wife Maria’s name. But business transaction from the accounts can be stopped permanently only when the court orders so after going through the evidence the CBI provides.

Sources said a senior CBI officer along with an additional legal adviser today left for London to assist the crown prosecutor general, who will argue the case on their behalf. The CBI team will apprise the British prosecutor general’s office about Quattrocchi’s involvement in the case and the evidence they have to substantiate his alleged role in the Rs 133-crore scam.

Quattrocchi has been on the run ever since the case was registered by the CBI more than a decade ago. Efforts to seek his extradition from Malaysia have failed so far. Sources said he has not only avoided attending court proceedings in Delhi but is also alleged to have “been transferring the funds (bribe money) from one account to another” in a “deceitful manner” to “evade detection by the law”.

Quattrocchi has, however, denied involvement in the Bofors payoffs.

On October 21, the CBI, during discussions with the prosecutor general via teleconferencing, reportedly said “the amount of three million pounds stashed in the accounts was a part of 73.43 lakh dollars paid to him (Quattrocchi) by AB Bofors through AE Services”.

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