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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

SC dismisses PIL for SIT probe into chopper deal

PTI  New Delhi, March 01, 2013
First Published: 17:20 IST(1/3/2013) | Last Updated: 17:22 IST(1/3/2013)

The Supreme Court dismissed a PIL on Friday seeking apex-court monitored probe by a special investigation team (SIT) or CVC into the alleged kickbacks in the Rs. 3600 crore VVIP chopper deal.

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"It is not a correct forum," a bench comprising justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash said while dismissing the PIL filed by an advocate.

The PIL filed by ML Sharma had sought an SIT or Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) probe under the supervision of the apex court without involving CBI which, it had alleged, was under government's control.

It had also asked for a direction to the defence ministry to scrap the contract with Italian company Finmeccanica for the supply of 12 AW101 helicopters. Finmeccanica's subsidiary AgustaWestland manufactures the choppers, three of which have been delivered to India to ferry VVIPs.

The petition had alleged that despite information available since 2011, no FIR was lodged against Indian citizens allegedly involved in the deal.

The PIL was filed after defence minister AK Antony had ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of payment of bribes to clinch the deal.

Giuseppe Orsi, who was the head of Finmeccanica, was arrested last month on charges of tax fraud and corruption including alleged pay-offs in the chopper deal. India has put on hold the receipt of the remaining helicopters as well as rest of the payment for the deal struck in 2010.

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