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Chopper scam to overshadow British PM's 3-day India visit

February 18, 2013 10:31 IST

British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Mumbai on Monday morning on a three-day India visit during which will he meet captains of industry and hold talks with top leaders, who are likely to seek more information on the VVIP helicopters scam involving an Anglo-Italian firm.

Cameron is likely to be pressed for more information on the Rs 3,600-crore helicopter scam involving AgustaWestland during his meetings with the leadership tomorrow. The helicopters, three of which have already been delivered, were manufactured in southwest England.

The visit also comes in the wake of India taking steps to scrap the contract after Italian investigators probed allegations that aerospace group Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland, had broken the law by paying bribes to foreign officials.

Cameron landed in Mumbai around 8.30 am and was received at the airport by Minister of Protocol Suresh Shetty and senior Maharashtra government officials.

He is accompanied by a large delegation, which includes CEO of top British corporates, Vice-Chancellors of reputed universities and senior government officials, among others.

"In Mumbai, Cameron's programmes include visit to Hindustan Unilever headquarters, a luncheon meeting with business leaders, a visit to St Xavier's School and laying a wreath at the police memorial," an Ministry of External Affairs statement said.

The premier will leave for New Delhi in the evening.

Cameron is also expected to attend a private function being hosted by a large conglomerate before leaving for the national capital, according to industry sources.

This would be his second visit to the country since he took over the mantle, with the first being soon after assuming office in May 2010.

In Delhi, Cameron will hold comprehensive talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues.

Besides the defence deal, other major issues expected to figure during Cameron's visit would include the Rs 12,000-crore Vodafone tax matter and the United Kingdom hosting a meeting between the Pakistan and Afghanistan presidents.

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