Buenos Aires, Argentina: Judgements given in India in the Bofors cases and the failed extradition attempt in Malaysia will form the basis for the defence of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, should the extradition case initiated against him by the CBI proceeds to a hearing, his Argetinian lawyer Alejandro Freeland has said.
Freeland, who claimed that both he and Quattrocchi are “confounded” at the turn of events that resulted in the Bofors-accused’s arrest in Argentina told PTI that he has not been contacted by the CBI, nor had access to the papers that have been supplied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in Buenos Aires.
He, however, has been researching past precedents in cases involving the Bofors arms deal and believes that “there is significant evidence that the case being brought against Quattrocchi is based on fictitious events, this view being supported by a judge in the Delhi High Court in rulings in 2004 and 2005 during the Hindujas brothers’ Bofors trial.”
“It is likely that these cases, and the failed Malaysian extradition attempt, will form the basis of Quattrocchi’s defence should the case proceed to a hearing,” he said.
Quattrocchi, 69, was detained in Argentina on February six on the basis of an Interpol alert. He was released on bail on February 23 but his passport has been impounded and he has been prohibited from leaving the country.
Freeland said that he is unaware of any new evidence being brought by the CBI against his client and expects it is the same evidence that the CBI supplied for the Malaysian extradition hearing.
Asked what he thought was likely to happen next, Freeland said that he and his client are hopeful that the CBI case will be thrown out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but if the case does proceed, his client could be held in Argentina for anywhere between one to six months.
Indian Ambassador to Argentina Pramathesh Rath had said on 2 March 2007 that the CBI team met with the panel of lawyers chosen by the embassy to represent them at the extradition hearings.