The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will seek details from three Scandinavian countries on the bribe money trail in the Rs 3,737-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.
The ED is in the process of sending its formal requests, also known as Letters Rogatories, seeking the case details from Finland, Norway and Denmark, according to an agency source. The choppers’ UK-based maker, AW Limited, allegedly routed Rs 360 crore to India for payment of bribes to influential Indians to clinch the contract.
The source said the requests are being sent on the basis of leads purportedly suggesting “the use of shell firms and layered financial transactions” in the three north European countries.
“The financial transactions under the agency’s scanner in the three countries are suspected to be linked to transfer of funds by firms named as accused in ED’s First Information Report in the case,” said the source.
The agency has sent reminders through diplomatic channels to expedite responses to its earlier requests to the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Tunisia. “Funds worth Rs 360 crore were suspected to have been routed to India by the choppers’ maker, AW Limited, via modes, including payments made to two accused Indian firms for outsourced engineering contracts,” said the source.
The deal was for 12 AW-101 choppers, which got cancelled in July 2014 by India when it was revealed that the AW Limited allegedly paid bribes and kept in violation of the contract’s Integrity pact.