New Delhi, June 14: The CBI’s case for Ottavio Quattrocchi’s extradition from Argentina was riddled with holes, documents with The Telegraph suggest.
An English translation of the summary of the El Dorado court judgment shows that the request for the extradition of the Bofors accused was rejected largely on technical, and not substantial, grounds.
According to judge Mario Hachiro Doi, who delivered his verdict in Spanish, the Indian request fell short on two counts.
One, the Interpol red-corner notice of May 25, 1997, was not accompanied with an arrest warrant from the Delhi court that was then trying the case.
Two, it was only after the Italian businessman’s arrest in Argentina on February 6 that the CBI went to the chief metropolitan magistrate in Delhi and obtained a fresh non-bailable arrest warrant.
And in this warrant, dated February 24, the magistrate did not explain why Quattrocchi’s arrest was being sought.
According to Argentine law, it isn’t enough for a judge to say he is satisfied with a detention order, as the Delhi magistrate said in his warrant. He must spell out his reasons in writing.
The translated minutes of the debate that preceded the judge’s verdict in El Dorado — also available with The Telegraph — show that the Indian lawyer was at sea when confronted with the cogently argued case of his opponent.
Quattrocchi’s lawyer Alejandro Freeland argued that his client’s arrest in Iguazu in Missiones province was inappropriate in the absence of a court arrest warrant with the Interpol red-corner notice. He also mentioned that the warrant procured by the CBI was issued after the arrest.
The Argentine judge cited both these arguments to deny the extradition request on June 7.
The court found the CBI’s case so frivolous that it asked the agency to pay the Italian businessman’s legal costs, agency reports from Buenos Aires have claimed.
The CBI may have known it had no case, but the government had to fight the case anyway to avoid accusations of being soft on Quattrocchi, believed to have been once close to the Nehru-Gandhis.
Argentine diplomats, however, held out hope, confirming in New Delhi that India could still provide the missing documents when the matter came up in their country’s apex court.