"You cannot always win".
This is the message Finmeccanica chief Giuseppe Orsi sent along with a bottle of champagne to his rivals American Sikorsky, a day ahead of the award of the Rs 3,600 crore contract in February 2010, according to a report by the Italian investigators.
Sikorsky and Italian Finmeccanica were the two companies short-listed for the Indian contract of 12 helicopters to ferry VVIPs, which ultimately was bagged by Finmeccanica.
"Orsi found himself at a restaurant in New Delhi where (by accident) a delegation of American Sikorsky was also present. Orsi sent a bottle of champagne with a note saying ‘you cannot always win’ to the American table," said the report by the investigators probing the alleged scam.
After the incident, the head of the American delegation left the room, annoyed by the rude behaviour of the Italian CEO.
The incident was confirmed to PTI by one of the individuals present in the hotel.
Orsi was arrested earlier this week in connection with the payment of alleged kickbacks of Rs 362 crore in the deal.
It is alleged that kickbacks were paid by the middlemen hired by Finmeccanica to secure the Indian contract. They were allegedly in touch with former Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi and his three cousins for this purpose.
Tyagi has denied any wrongdoing by him and dismissed the charges as baseless.