Choppergate: CBI seeks details of recoveries from suspected middleman

  • Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 21, 2014 01:32 IST

The CBI, which is probing receipt of alleged kickbacks in the `3,600 crore VVIP AgustaWestland deal, has sought from the defence ministry details on recoveries — including documents and hard disks — made by them from suspected middleman Guido Hashcke.

The details were provided to the ministry by Italian authorities earlier.

The recoveries were made from the house of a close relative of Hashcke, where he had stayed at prior to his arrest by Italian authorities in February 2013. The CBI in its case First Information Report had named Hashcke, along with two other foreigners, as middlemen and alleged that they had played a role in swinging the 2010 Indian deal.

Among the recoveries sought by the CBI, and other probe agencies, are hard disks of Hashcke’s computers were alleged to contain details on irregularities linked to the deal, said an agency source. It was alleged that Hashcke had tried to delete such details from his computers but the Italian authorities could retrieve the same from the hard disks.

An Italian court had recently handed out a two-year jail term to former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and its UK-based subsidiary AgustaWestland’s former boss Bruno Spagnolini for falsifying invoices, but cleared them of the more serious corruption charges in the VVIP chopper deal. A Finmeccanica spokesperson on October 9, in its response to the Italian verdict, had expressed “satisfaction at the absence of any element of international corruption” and said that the court’s order had “acknowledged that Finmeccanica was not involved in any wrongdoing.”

The CBI has requested UK, Italy, Tunisia and Mauritius to expedite sharing of details on the alleged money-trail but is yet to get a response, said the source.

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