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Advani equates Quattrocchi with Dawood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The defreezing of the two London bank accounts of controversial Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, a key accused in the Bofors pay-off case, rocked the Lok Sabha today with an agitated Opposition demanding an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.

Raising the issue during zero hour, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani, described Quattrocchi as “no different a fugitive” than underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, and asked Mr Manmohan Singh, who was present in the House, why the government was having a “soft corner” for the Italian.

Mr Advani termed as “misleading” the statements coming from the Prime Minister, Law Minister H R Bharadwaj and the CBI and wanted to know why the accounts were defrozen when the investigating agency had submitted to a local court that a red corner notice against Quattrocchi was still in operation.

The agitated BJP members along with the Akali Dal, JD(U), Shiv Sena and BJD trooped into the well when the government fielded Minister of State for Personnel Suresh Pachauri to respond to the Opposition’s onslaught.

Coming out strongly against opposition tactics, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee observed “it is most unfortunate” and “deliberate obstruction” of proceedings.

“I totally condemn the method adopted (by the Opposition),” Mr Chatterjee said as he adjourned the House nearly for two hours ahead of the lunch.

Some Congress members were up on their feet when Mr Advani referred to Quattrocchi as a person who does not believe in the Indian law system and was a “friend of Sonia Gandhi’s family.”

Wondering why the government had gone out of its way to get Quattrochhi’s accounts defrozen, he said no officer of the government like Mr B. Datta, Additional Solicitor-General, could go to London without permission of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister should inform the House about who asked the agency to clear the way for Quattrocchi to withdraw money from these accounts.

Meanwhile, the government maintained that it had nothing to do with the CBI’s statements to the authorities in Britain that led to defreezing of bank accounts of Quattrocchi.

“The government is in no way related to the defreezing of bank accounts of Quattrochhi. The UPA government has no connection with the decision. It is entirely the CBI’s decision,” Minister of State for Personnel and Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachauri said.


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