Alleged kingpin in the Bofors scam of the 80s, Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, passed away according to media reports.
There are conflicting reports about the timing of his death. Quattrocchi had died of a heart attack in Milan on Friday night, CNN-IBN reported.
The Italian businessman was let off by the CBI for his alleged involvement in the high profile Rs 1,500 crore Bofors arms deal case citing lack of evidence.
The so-called Quattorchi-link to the Gandhi family has always put uncomfortable questions to the Congress specially involving former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and party president Sonia Gandhi. It is often alleged that the Congress president’s Italian origin had somehow always acted as a bar in bringing Quattorchi to justice as per Indian laws.
Quattorchi had fled India in 1993 before the CBI could question him in the 1986 Bofors kickback scam. The controversial Italian businessman was allegedly the conduit of the Bofors scam and close to the Gandhis.
After 20 years and a loss of Rs 250 crore to the exchequer, a Delhi court on 4 March 2011 accepted the CBI closure report against Quattrocchi in the Bofors pay-off case. The case had led to the defeat of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989 amidst charges of political corruption.
Ottavio Quattrocchi and the Bofors timeline
On the 20 January 1990, the CBI had filed a criminal case to find out who were the beneficiaries of kickbacks from Bofors deal. Two charge sheets were filed by the CBI in this case , on 22 October 1999 and then on 9 October 2000, CNN-IBN reported.
However, in 2003 and 2007, the CBI had failed to extradite Quattrocchi who was named as the main accused back to India.
Finally, in 2009, it first removed the red corner notice against Quattrocchi and then sought permission to withdraw prosectuion against him.
Reacting to the closure report, then Congress leader Salman Khurshid had said, “Good that this is over.” BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad then said, “Truth has no closure.”
Before closing the Bofors case, Delhi’s Tees Hazari Court, chief metropolitan magistrate, Justice Vinod Yadav had said, “Woh afsana jisse anjaam tak laana na ho mumkin..usse ek khubsoorat mod de kar, chhodna hi accha.” (That tale to which is not possible to bring to an end… it is better to give a beautiful turn and leave behind.)