Now, MoD seeks info from UK

After failing to get concrete information from Rome on the ongoing probe by Italian investigators into the VVIP helicopter deal, India has now formally approached the UK government for assistance and information on the alleged role of middlemen in the defence deal that was inked in 2010.

Sources said the defence ministry has instructed the Indian defence attaché in London to take up the matter with the British government. The Rs 3546-crore deal was signed with AgustaWestland UK and the stringent integrity clauses of the defence ministry would hold the British subsidiary liable for penalties.

As per the defence ministry rules, AgustaWestland UK could be banned if it is proved that middlemen were used in the deal to sell 12 VVIP helicopters to India. The company also faces a stringent fine and possible cancellation of the deal.

The decision to write to UK was taken after repeated letters from the Indian government to Italian authorities failed to yield much information.

After a series of reports in The Indian Express based on an inquiry report filed by Italian prosecutors in court, the government had last week called in the Italian ambassador and impressed on him the importance of sharing information on the probe.

As reported, Italian investigators are probing allegations that Euro 51 million commission was paid for the Indian VVIP chopper deal.

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