Last bribery 19 days after deal
Italian arms giant Finmeccanica started off sending kickbacks to Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech, but then diversified the routes through which it sent bribe money to win the VVIP chopper deal, to minimize chances of getting caught. Charu Sudan Kasturi reports. The Kickback Routedelhi Updated: Feb 17, 2013 01:42 IST
Italian arms giant Finmeccanica started off sending kickbacks to Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech, but then diversified the routes through which it sent bribe money to win the VVIP chopper deal, to minimize chances of getting caught.
Invoices details used by the company to pay off middlemen and the family of ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi point to a web of deception that included eventually sending almost 90% of the kickbacks through a Tunisian company called IDS Information Technology and Services.
IDS Infotech, the Indian company, has investments in the Tunisian IDS, headed by a man identified by Italian investigators in their probe report as Kammoun Hedi, "influential with the Tunisian elite."
AgustaWestland first entered into a deal with the Chandigarh firm on March 1, 2007 for the supply of IT services for choppers- services that prosecutors allege were never meant to be delivered. But the arms firm started transferring money for "non-existing" services to IDS Infotech from August 2007.
It sent euro 647,612 (Rs 4.9 crore) to IDS Infotech in 2007, and another euro 977,263 (Rs 7 crore) in 2008 - the year the Indian Air Force conducted trials to pick between choppers pitched by AgustaWestland and those of American firm Sikorsky.
AgustaWestland continued sending money to IDS Infotech - euro507988 (Rs 3.9 crore) in 2009 and euro 22,764 (Rs 16 lakh) in 2010.
The last transfer of funds from AgustaWestland to IDS Infotech is dated February 27, 2010 - just 19 days after the British firm won the controversial deal to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force, beating American firm Sikorsky.