New Delhi: Controversial Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who was a key figure in the Bofors payoffs scandal, has died in Milan following a stroke. Quattrocchi (74) died "peacefully" on Friday and his funeral will take place on Monday, a member of the family told from the Italian city.

The Bofors chargesheet filed in 1999 by CBI had named Quattrocchi, who was close to the Gandhi family during his days in India as the representative of an Italian firm, as one of the accused in the case regarding the Rs 64 crore payoffs for supply of Swedish Howitzer guns to the Indian Army. The Rs 1,600 crore contract was clinched in 1986.

But on March 4, 2011, a Tis Hazari court here discharged Quattrocchi from the payoffs case after allowing the CBI to withdraw prosecution against him, bringing to an end a major chapter in the 25-year-old Bofors saga. An application for withdrawal of the case against Quattrocchi was filed by the public prosecutor on October 3, 2009.

The CBI had unsuccessfully tried to extradite Quattrocchi to India but it lost two extradition appeals, first in Malaysia in 2002, and then in Argentina in 2007. Quattrochi left India in 1993 to apparently avoid being arrested.

Defence Minister AK Antony recently said that the government has no plan to launch any fresh probe into the Bofors scandal and that Quattrocchi stands "discharged" as he could not be extradited even after 20 years of registration of the case.

On February 6, 2007, Quattrocchi was detained in Argentina on the basis of the Interpol warrant.

CBI came under attack for allegedly putting up a half-hearted effort towards his extradition and India lost the case for his extradition in June 2007 with the judge remarking that "India did not even present proper legal documents".

The Bofors scandal erupted after a 1987 report on Swedish radio, claiming that Bofors had paid bribes to secure the contract.   

Quattrocchi, born in Mascali, province of Catania, Sicily, is reported to have arrived in India in the mid-1960s as the representative of Italian oil and gas firm Eni and its engineering arm Snamprogetti.


Latest News from India News Desk