AgustaWestland deal: Cameron assures help in investigations after PM expresses concern

Cameron Manmohan

India today conveyed to the UK its "serious concerns" over allegations of "unethical means" used to secure Rs 3600 crore VVIP chopper deal involving Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland, to which Britain assured all possible help while asserting that it has one of the strongest anti-bribery law in the world.

After having wide-ranging talks which included key issues of nuclear energy cooperation, security, terrorism and trade with his British counterpart David Cameron, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he conveyed India's "serious concerns" pertaining to the chopper scam and sought his "full assistance" on the issue.

Singh and Cameron read out statements at a joint press meet without taking any questions.

Noting that they reviewed the entire expanse of their bilateral ties, Singh also said the two sides have also decided to commence negotiations on a bilateral Civil Nuclear Agreement.

Giving details of his discussions, he said: "I also conveyed to Prime Minister Cameron our very serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for AgustaWestland helicopters.

"I told him that we have sought an explanation from the company by February 22 to examine if the contractual provisions on unethical practices and the Integrity Pact have been violated. I have sought full assistance from the UK in this case. Prime Minister Cameron has assured me of the cooperation of his government in the investigations."

On his part, Cameron said, "In terms of AgustaWestland...we will respond to any requests for information. I am glad the Italian authorities are looking into this issue in detail as Finmeccanica is an Italian company, a parent company of AgustaWestland.

"Let me make it absolutely clear that in Britain, we have introduced an anti-bribery legislation that is probably the strongest anywhere in the world and will root out any problem of bribery or corruption whenever and wherever they appear," Cameron said.

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