VVIP helicopter deal: CBI meeting with lawyer 'useful'

Chopper scam

CBI team which reached Italy today to probe role of Indians in the alleged Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal scam met its lawyer and described the meeting as "useful".

High level sources in CBI said the team had a meeting with the lawyer engaged by the agency to represent India's case with the Italian government and the local courts to find out the role of Indians in the alleged Rs 3,600-crore VVIP helicopter deal scam in which Giuseppe Orsi, the chairman of Italian air defense group Finmeccanica, was arrested there.

It was a "useful" meeting, they said.

The sources said the assistance of a lawyer has been taken to understand the Italian law and how quickly the documents from the helicopter supplying company could be taken.

The lawyer, if necessary, would be approaching the court in Italy for procurement of documents, they said.

The team comprises a CBI DIG, a law officer of the agency, a Joint Secretary level officer of Defence Ministry and an official of the External Affairs Ministry.

The CBI's decision to send a team to Italy came after it virtually drew a blank from the Defence Ministry in getting some official inputs regarding alleged kickbacks of Rs 362 crore in the case.

The CBI was handed over a letter from the Defence Ministry seeking a probe by it in the case which has triggered a storm in the country. Attached with the letter were some Indian and Italian press clippings, which, the CBI said, could not form the basis for registering a case.

CBI had sought help of Indian Mission in Rome which too has not been able to provide any authenticated court documents to the agency, the sources said.

This was followed by CBI seeking help of Interpol which also expressed inability to provide any help in the absence of any regular case not having been registered by the agency, they said.

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