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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

VVIP chopper deal: Development in Italy court won't affect CBI probe

PTI  New Delhi, August 10, 2014
First Published: 14:09 IST(10/8/2014) | Last Updated: 14:19 IST(10/8/2014)

The proposed dropping of probe against defence major Finmeccanica by Italian prosecutor will not affect the probe of CBI into alleged bribery in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from its sister concern AgustaWestland, the agency has deduced from the report received from Milan.

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CBI sources said that after the news of proposed dropping of charges came, the agency has sought details of court proceedings from Busto Arsizio in Milan where Finmeccanica is facing trial for alleged corruption and bribery to Indian officials.

They said the documents have been received and translated from Italian into English after which investigators have come to the conclusion that dropping of charges is not going to affect the line of probe CBI is pursuing in the case.

A senior official said Finmeccanica had agreed to pay fine for ending the Italian prosecutor's investigations into the deal with India with a caveat that it does not mean admission of allegations against the company. Finmeccanica has denied any wrongdoing in the deal.

They said no such mechanism exists in Indian laws related to corruption charge levelled by CBI in its FIR against former IAF chief SP Tyagi and 13 others, including the then Finmeccanica CEO, in connection with the deal.

The sources said they are awaiting responses to Letters Rogatory from various countries after which it would proceed with the filing of charge sheet in the case.

"There are two aspects to the case. First is the conspiracy in which bribe was allegedly received. Second is the money trail, how the bribe was routed to India. We are clear about conspiracy, but money trail will be clear once responses to Letters Rogatory are received," a senior CBI officer said.

CBI, which carried out a probe in India, has named 13 individuals, including SP Tyagi and European nationals Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke in the FIR as accused in connection with the bribery case.

Italian agencies had arrested then CEO of AgustaWestland Giuseppe Orsi for alleged bribe given to Indian middlemen to clinch the deal.

The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters had come under the scanner after Italian authorities alleged bribe money was given by the company to clinch the deal.


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