When the Swiss authorities formally communicated to the Government of India that the kick-backs in the Bofors case were deposited in Mr. Quottorochi’s accounts, the Congress Government then headed by Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao was asked by prominent members to immediately impound Quottochi’s passport to prevent him from fleeing the country. This was not done and he was allowed to leave the country. Since then the CBI has been involved in a legal battle to extradite him from Malaysia where he found his new home. The case against him both for extradition and for receipt of kick-backs in the Bofors case are still pending. It is for the CBI and appropriate judicial authorities to take a view in the matter. Even the CBI without permission of the Court cannot close the case. Notwithstanding this legal position, for a Law Officer of the Government of India to request the authorities in Britain to de-freeze his accounts is scandalous. It is an attempt to use unconstitutional means to help a person who has caused wrongful loss to the Government of India. What is the hurry to pass on to Quattrochi the illegal receipts of the Bofor’s deal? Did this money have to be passed on by Quattrochi to some one else?
The history of the Congress Party in relation to the Bofors case is a history of cover up. Even though disclosures were made in April 1987 by a Swedish Radio broadcast, that kick-backs had been paid in the case, no FIR was registered as required by law to freeze the accounts and no action was taken to seek legal assistance from Swiss government. It was only when the Rajiv Gandhi Government was defeated in December, 1989 that the National Front government then supported by the BJP and Left Parties allowed the CBI full permission to file a FIR and make request to the appropriate authorities for legal assistance and freezing of accounts. The Congress Governments have made repeated cover up efforts some of which are indicated below:
• Non-registration of FIR when the facts of the case came to light.
• No request being made to the Swiss authorities for legal assistance and for freezing of accounts.
• In December,1990 the then Law officer of the Govt.of India headed by Shri Chandrashekhar (which was supported by Congress Party), namely, Shri KTS Tulsi, made a statement that the facts of the case did not disclose an offence and therefore should be quashed. The Court cast every doubt of the case, which was set aside by the Supreme Court.
• The High Court subsequently quashed the charge sheet in a judgment delivered by Justice GC Mittal and Justice Sat Pal which was later set aside by the Supreme Court.
• In 1992 Shri Madhavsinh Solanki, the then External Affairs Minister handed over a memorandum to the appropriate Swiss authorities requesting them not to render assistance to Indian authorities. This was exposed by a journalistic investigation and Shri Solanki had to be sacked from the Government.
• After the charge sheets were filed in 1999 and proceedings started, the Delhi High Court delivered an erroneous judgment in the year 2004 holding a case of prevention of corruption was not made out. When the UPA came back to power, it prevented the CBI from filing an appeal in the case and let the erroneous judgement stand. Pursuant to the said judgement some other accused were also discharged. Those orders were allowed to remain unchallenged by the CBI before the court. A public interest petition in this regard to continuing the case is now pending before the Supreme Court.
• Now a formal request is illegally made through a Law Officer of the Government of India to appropriate authorities to even release the illegal funds which were lying frozen in Quottrochi’s accounts. Even under the allocation of business rules the law Ministry has nothing to do with this case.
It has been the argument of the Congress Party and their President, Smt. Sonia Gandhi that there was nothing in this case and therefore no evidence was forth coming. The truth of the matter is that despite such cover up attempts, the fact that kick-backs were paid in the name of A&E Services, a company of which Shri Quottrochi was the beneficiary was a strong indictment of the Congress Party and the Gandhi family and those close to Quottrochi. The fact that Quottrochi was allowed to flee and still being helped itself is a scandal.
If Quottrochi requested the appropriate authorities to de-freeze his account the CBI would oppose it, but why should the political executive of the Government of India make such a request? Why is the government over anxious that this money be paid to Quottrochi.
Two questions arise. Firstly, is it within the knowledge of CBI that the political executive is making a request for de-freezing the accounts? Secondly, is it with the approval and authority of the Prime Minister that a Law Officer and the Ministry of Law not authorized in the matter were acting towards de-freezing of these accounts. The answer to the first question will expose the legal infirmity of the action. The answer to the second will put the Prime Minister in a dock and raise several issues of ethics and morality for him?