Bofors scam accused Ottavio Quattrocchi dies of heart attack in Milan

MILAN: Italian businessman and Bofors scam accused Ottavio Quattrocchi died after a heart attack in Milan. His funeral will take place on Monday.

Quattrocchi, who represented the Italian petrochemicals firm Snamprogetti, was accused of being the middleman in the Bofors scandal. His
alleged proximity to the Gandhi family had fuelled speculation about his rise as a power broker between New Delhi and international businesses.

In March 1986, a $285 million deal was signed between the Indian government and Swedish arms company Bofors for the supply of 410 155mm Howitzer field guns. A year later, news broke that Bofors had allegedly paid kickbacks worth Rs. 64 crore to top Indian politicians and officials.

The scandal hurt the reputation of Rajiv Gandhi, who was the prime minister then. The opposition parties made Bofors an issue in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections and Gandhi was voted out of power.

Quattrocchi was accused of being a conduit between Bofors and Indian politicians who allgedly received kickbacks for the deal. He left India in 1993 to avoid being arrested and never returned.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigated and tracked Quattrocchi for years but never found enough evidence to nail him. In January 2011, a Delhi court made scathing remarks about CBI's investigation and said the  agency hadn't moved "an inch" in 25 years of investigation.

The agency failed twice to have him extradited: in Malaysia in 2002, and then in Argentina in 2007. The CBI was allowed to close its investigation in 2011 and charges against Quattrocchi were dropped on March 4 that year. No person has ever been convicted in the Bofors scandal. [AGENCIES]