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Chopper scam: Govt gets first set of documents from Italy

Source: PTI
March 11, 2013 20:10 IST
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The government has received the first set of official documents from Italy in connection with the VVIP chopper scam including the warrants issued against former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi by authorities there.

The documents are expected to fast-track the Indian investigations into the bribery allegations in the Rs 3,600 crore deal for 12 AW-101 choppers, highly-placed government sources said in New Delhi.

The receipt of these documents is expected to boost efforts to go to the root of the alleged scam amid Defence Minister A K Antony's keenness to ensure that the truth is brought out expeditiously.

So far, Indian investigations into the case have been stuck in absence of official documents as the Italian court had refused to share it with India citing Italian laws.

However, the government is yet to officially receive the preliminary investigation report filed by the Italian prosecutors in the court of Busto Arsizio, they said.

The search warrant against Orsi is understood to have details about the alleged payment of kickbacks to middlemen engaged by him to swing the deal in favour of his firm.

Orsi had allegedly hired Guido Heschke and Christian Michel for bagging the deal. The two were allegedly in touch with the three cousins of former India Air Force chief S P Tyagi and they all have already been interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Antony had told the Rajya Sabha that the truth in the case would come out soon with the two parallel investigations going on in Italy and India.

The minister and his team including Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma are working in this direction and are offering full cooperation to the CBI in its probe.

Soon after the arrest of Orsi on February 18 in Italy, Antony had ordered a CBI inquiry into the case and the ministry had dispatched a one-member team including joint secretary and Acquisition Manager Arun Kumar Bal to Milan to get "as much evidence as possible".

Image: The AgustaWestland AW-101 helicopter that India purchased for its VVIPs
Photographs: Courtesy: AgustaWestland  

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