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Rediff.com  » News » India makes fresh request to Italy for chopper scam info

India makes fresh request to Italy for chopper scam info

February 15, 2013 18:52 IST

India on Friday made a fresh request to Italy for information on alleged kickbacks in supply of Rs 3600-crore worth of AgustaWestland's VVIP helicopters.

Noting that there were reports in Italy on investigation in the alleged scam in a defence helicopter deal with Italian firm Finmeccanica and its chief being arrested in Milan, the government has made a fresh request for information in the matter, top government sources said in New Delhi.

"The ministry of defence has made the request through Indian mission (in Rome)," they said. They said, though the request has been made in past also, India has not been able to elicit any response, the argument being that this was a judicial process.

On Thursday, the defence ministry had formally asked Finmeccanica to state whether any money was illegally paid to any Indian entity or individual amidst its warning of legal action including blacklisting of the firm.

Briefing the reporters earlier this week, official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs had said, "As far as we are concerned, we had through our embassy in Italy requested the Italian government to provide us information that they may have in connection with allegations which have been made on the matter. We have not received any response from them so far on that, the argument being that this is in Italy a judicial process. Because the prosecutors are perhaps working under judicial supervision, therefore, the executive is not able to share that information with us. That is where we stand on that."

The scam had unfolded with the arrest of the head of the state-controlled Italian aerospace company that is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs 362 crore in India to get orders for helicopters to ferry Indian VVIPs.

According to Italian news agency Ansa, Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested on Monday in relation to a probe into international corruption. He is suspected of involvement in the payment of bribes regarding the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters produced by Finmeccanica's subsidiary AgustaWestland."

 Prosecutors suspect that around 50 million euros (Rs 362 crore approximately), about 10 per cent of the deal were ploughed back into kickbacks to ensure AgustaWestland won the contract, the agency reported.

The government announced a CBI probe into the alleged scam after Italian investigations also threw up the name of ex-Indian Air Force chief S P Tyagi.

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