The UPA government had a great opportunity to press for a continued freeze on the UK bank accounts of Bofors fugitive Ottavio Quattrocchi even after court proceedings had stalled in 2006 by declaring the Italian as a proclaimed offender but chose not to do so.
CBI's information recently shared by the with Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has hinted at the possibility that the UPA regime led by Congress was keen on ensuring Quattrocchi was able to access $1 million and Euro 3 million suspected to be slush funds from the Bofors deal.
A note on events that led to Quattrocchi accessing the funds after Congress assumed office in May 2004 stated that the counsel for UK's crown prosecution service had suggested that attachment of properties as part of proceedings relating to a proclaimed offender could ensure continuation of the freeze on the accounts.
"The (CPS) suggested various follow up action i.e. declaration of Ottavio Quattrocchi as proclaimed offender under Section 82 of CrPC and attachment of his properties under Section 82 of CrPC to ensure the continuation of the restraint order against the aforesaid funds held in London," the CBI told the PAC.
The CPS suggestion was rejected by then additional solicitor general Bhagwan Datta who said there was no justification for taking recourse to sections of the CrPC suggested by CPS counsel Stephen Hellman. A discharge order was served on the banks on January 13, 2006. On January 16, the Supreme Court ordered a status quo with regard to Quattrocchi's accounts in London but the funds were withdrawn that very day.