Italy Provides Evidence In India’s AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper Scam

  • Our Bureau
  • 09:26 AM, September 28, 2015
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India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has received evidential material in the 3,600 crore VVIP chopper bribery scam involving Agustawestland from Italy.

Italy has sent a compact disc (CD) two months ago which reportedly has details about various companies and individuals that include former Finmeccanica Chief Giuseppe Orsi and former Agustawestland head Spagnolini Bruno, their bank transactions and other documents.

"It's an important development as investigation was stuck due to non-cooperation from Italy for two-and-a-half years. The CD has given a fresh lease of life to the corruption probe," Times of India news daily quoted an unnamed officer as saying. 

India had sought help from Italy, Tunisia, Mauritius, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, the UK, Switzerland and the UAE through LRs or legal requests for assistance to gather evidence that can establish money trail. While none of the countries other than Italy have so far helped the probe, the news daily reported Sunday.

Other countries are yet to provide any evidence despite several requests and reminders. 

The development comes as the agency is set to issue an Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN), most likely by next week, against European middleman Christian Michel, who allegedly paid bribes to Indian officials for securing the deal of 12 VVIP choppers in favor of Anglo-Italian company AgustaWestland.

CBI alleges that Indian officials were paid Rs 362 crore in bribes to swing the deal in favor of the Anglo-Italian firm. The deal was signed for 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters in February 2010 for the communication squadron of IAF to carry the President, the PM and other VVIPs. The agency claimed that during the tenure of SP Tyagi, the IAF "conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6,000 meters to 4,500 meters" with his approval, which allowed UK-based AgustaWestland win the contract.

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