Mention the name Quattrocchi and you’re bound to strike controversy.
That has been the case ever since the Bofors gun deal. Ottavio Quattrocchi (“Q”), an Italian businessman, has been wanted by India but perhaps not as wanted by our law enforcement agencies. In the final days of the Narasimha Rao regime, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) let him slip out of India. It has never been able to lay its hands on him since.
Perhaps it never wanted to.
The Indian Express reported on Tuesday that Interpol’s 12-year-old red-corner notice against Q had been removed from CBI’s website.
Legal matters in India have a curious way of dying. Evidence is ignored or is destroyed even as a case goes on. That hobbles judicial proceedings to the point of meaninglessness. Finally, all that is left is the furore in the press. The case against Q has followed this trajectory.
At this late hour, Q’s arrest will serve little purpose, at least from the point of view of prosecuting independent India’s most infamous defence deal.