AgustaWestland deal: CBI probe ordered, helicopter delivery put on hold

Chopper deal

Following the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO Guiseppe Orsi and two Italian middlemen in Italy today, the Ministry of Defence has ordered a probe into the VVIP chopper deal that Orsi is accused of securing through bribes.

Amidst suspicion of bribery, Indian mission in Rome had sought a detailed report from Italian government but Italy had said it could not be shared as it was under judicial process, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.

The report was sought after Defence Ministry's request.

The Ministry of Defence also decided to put on hold the receipt of the remaining nine of the 12 helicopters for which the Rs 3600 crore deal was struck in 2010.

Defence Ministry statement

The said contract was signed in February, 2010 for the purchase of 12 helicopters. In view of media reports, MoD through the Ministry of External Affairs had sought information from the Governments of Italy and UK. No specific inputs were, however, received substantiating the allegations.

In a recent report, appearing in certain sections of the media, it has been reported that the Chairman of M/s. Finmeccanica has been arrested in connection with the investigation into the case of the sale of helicopters to India. The contract signed with M/s. AgustaWestland includes specific contractual provisions against bribery and the use of undue influence as well as an Integrity Pact.

Since no specific input has been received so far from the two Governments, MoD has decided to refer the case to CBI for inquiry.

Ends

Italy has not shared details of the corruption probe into the sale of helicopters to the Indian government, the Indian foreign ministry said on Tuesday, after the arrest of Finmeccanica's head Giuseppe Orsi in Italy.

"We had asked the government of Italy through our mission in Rome for details of the investigation but were told that it is a judicial process and the government of Italy is unable to share any information," foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said. "That remains the position even today."

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