Date: 1/19/2006


Thank you, Quattrocchi //// Editorial //// We do not have words to express our heart-felt apologies to Ottavio Quattrocchi. We wronged him. Our sincere regrets. A man who ought to have been commended for his services to the nation was made to flee these shores like a common criminal. How could we be so ungracious, nay, ungrateful! We are sorry, signor Quattrocchi. Hope you can forgive us. //// A man who, on his own admission, `contributed to the industrial development of India’ certainly did not deserve this rude treatment. Whatever happened to the famous hospitality of Indians! We are known to embrace all comers as one of us. This ancient land has absorbed foreigners and their cultures without murmur. //// How could we do this to a man who had made this country home, where four of his children were conceived and three actually born... No, we are shamed by our stupidity in believing that Q actually conceived and delivered the Bofors pay-off and other such scams while he was in India, the conception and delivery of children being only incidental to his stay here. Of course, they did not have to pursue Q the way they did. As the main figure in this country’s most controversial and well-known bribery case, they ought to have feted him. //// If at all, he was only an accessory to the crime. The real crime was committed by his Indian friends. They are the ones who actually ordered the Swedish gun without ensuring that there was no underhand payment involved in the deal. Q is right in saying that he had no locus in the matter. How could he? He was not the Prime Minister, was he?. His family friend Sonia Gandhi’s husband was. It was Rajiv Gandhi who placed the order with the Swedish gunmaker once the Italian family friend had settled the terms of agreement. //// Four per cent commission on the total amount of the order. Poor Q, he even agreed to a penal clause which said that if he failed to swing the order the Bofors way within a month, he would forfeit a percentage of the above commission. Q kept his word. Like a true gentleman, he saw to it that the Bofors got the order they had been so desperate to grab in the teeth of a very stiff competition from the French howitzer manufacturers. //// So he had earned his four per cent, hadn’t he?. Why begrudge him that relatively paltry amount when he had been involved in far bigger deals, nay, scams as the representative of a foreign business \ industrial conglomerate during the decades he had been stationed in this country. Truly, we have been downright nasty to Q. //// Come to think of it, Q fattening himself on bribes is no big deal. He was known to have been in that business while based in this country. Easy access to the Gandhis had empowered him in the community of wheelers and dealers who crowd around the centres of power in the capital. But the bigger crime was that of cover-up. //// As the noted Supreme Court lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, argued the cover-up of the scam once the Swedish Radio had spilled the beans was the doing of Rajiv Gandhi. He had known all along that the `family friend’ had his finger in the Bofors pie. Yet he told lies in Parliament. When proved wrong by new revelations, he came up with a new set of falsehoods. He was the real culprit in the Bofors case. //// It will be instructive to recall that President Nixon was not impeached because he had authorised the bugging of the Democratic Party’s headquarters in Washington. He was disgraced because he had been a party to the cover-up of the Watergate scandal. But to get back to the latest twists and turns in the Bofors saga, we must record our acknowledgement that sometimes good does flow out of sheer evil. In the history of the country’s premier investigating agency, a glorious moment was reached only thanks to the Bofors scam. We have it on the authority of no less than the Prime Minister that the CBI is now able and willing to act autonomously even in those matters which are politically highly sensitive. //// Only a gentleman like Manmohan Singh occupying the prime ministerial `gaddi’ could have ensured such a defining moment in the life of the CBI! Now, that the good doctor has restored true freedom of action to the CBI and, allowed Q the use of monies wrongly frozen in London at the say-so of the previous NDA regime, we do hope the PM will have the good sense to bestow a Padma award on the man who in his own words did so much for the industrialisation of this country! //// We hope the coming R-Day list of Padma winners will include Q’s name. And hope and pray he can fly down from Milan to accept it in person. And stay back to further the cause of industrialisation of this country. //// Send in your comments on this article to /////000000000