Ottavio Quattrocchi
Ottavio QuattrocchiReuters

Italian businessman, Ottavio Quattrocchi, the accused in the Bofors scandal, died of heart attack in Milan. He was 74.

Maria, wife of the Italian businessman confirmed to The Sunday Express that Quattrocchi died of a stroke. 

"For two decades you people of the Indian media and the courts have harassed us. Why are you calling now? He is no more," Maria told the daily.

The death of Quattrocchi has literally shut the Bofors scam. Other accused in the scandal - Bofors chief Martin Ardbo, former defence secretary S K Bhatnagar, and Bofors agent Win Chadha - too are no more.

Ottavio Quattrocchi, who was a family friend of the Gandhis (Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi), left India on the night οf 29 July, 1993, before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could question and detain him in connection with the case. It was alleged that the release was part of a deal between Sonia Gandhi and the then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao. Gandhi family's proximity with him was one of the reasons for the defeat of the Congress in 1989 Lok Sabha elections.

The CBI filed a charge sheet against Quattrocchi in 1999 in connection with the Bofors bribe scandal. The case against him was strengthened after Interpol exposed two bank accounts - one belonging to him and the other to his wife Maria with Euros 3 million and $1 million, respectively - which were frozen. The government of India released it in 2006 without the consent of the CBI.

He was arrested in Argentina in 2007 following a warrant by Interpol, but India lost the extradition case with the judge stating that India did not provide proper legal documents. The court also ruled that India pay legal expenses of Quattrocchi's case. The CBI came under severe criticism for not trying hard to ensure his extradition. The case was finally closed two years ago.