BJP seeks apology from PM over Quattrocchi remark

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday sought an apology from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for giving a “clean chit” to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors kickback case, saying that the findings of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) were contrary.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said the media had reported the Prime Ministers remarks in 2009 that the Quattrocchi case was an embarrassment to the government and “it is not a good reflection on the Indian legal system that we harass people while the world says we have no case”.

Prasad said the statement of the prime minister was “completely contrary” to findings of ITAT.

“Prime minister, you tried to give him (Quattrocchi) a clean chit. The closure report of CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is still pending in court. The big question is that first spoil the case and then say no case is made out… The tribunal has named Quattrocchi as one of the main beneficiaries of kickbacks in the Bofors gun deal. When appellate tribunal has completely expressed that his exoneration was wrong, would you apologise to the nation?” Prasad said.

Referring to the prime ministers remarks at the Congress plenary last month that Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion, Prasad said: “We are trying to judge you upon the benchmark you have set for yourself.”

He alleged that the government agencies were involved in saving Quattrocchi because of his “proximity to the Gandhi family”.

ITAT has ruled that Quattrocchi and his partner Win Chadha received a commission of over Rs.412 million in the Rs.15 billion howitzer gun deal in 1987.

Filed under: Politics

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