A day after Italian prosecutors reportedly shelved the proceedings against Italian defence major Finmeccanica pertaining to the Indian contract of procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from its subsidiary AgustaWestland, India’s defence ministry has sought details pertaining to the proceedings of the case in a Milan court from Indian embassy in Rome.
Defence ministry officials said the decision of Italian prosecutors “has nothing to do with the merit of the case in India” and that there will be “no change in the present status of the case”.
“We have independently obtained records and documents on the basis of which the case will continue here,” a Defence ministry official said, adding the decision in Italy is unlikely to weaken the ongoing case in India.
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While India has terminated the Rs 3,546 crore contract with AgustaWestland in January, the CBI is probing the deal for alleged kickbacks.
Italian news agency Ansa had on Tuesday reported that while “shelving” the case against the company, “the prosecution found that the company had nothing to do with the alleged corruption”.
“AgustaWestland has agreed to pay a fine, while reiterating it knew nothing about the alleged bribery,” the agency said, citing a Finmeccanica statement.
A statement on the company’s official website too maintained that “the Prosecutor’s Office has recognized, on the one hand, the strangeness of Finmeccanica respect to the alleged offense and, second, that Finmeccanica, since 2003, has adopted — and, subsequently, constantly updated — a model of organisation, management and control capable of preventing offenses of the same kind that has challenged, paying great attention to the aspects of compliance, in order to ensure adequate standards of fairness and ethics.” (sic)
After terminating the contract with AgustaWestland, the Indian government had agreed to participate in the arbitration clause invoked by the company in September following non-payment by India citing alleged kickbacks.
While three of the 12 AW101 VVIP choppers have been delivered to India, the fate of the company in the Indian defence market rests upon the ongoing CBI case pertaining to the matter.