The financial transactions between those who allegedly received about 20 million Euros as kickbacks in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal are being probed by a third country as well.
This came to light after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last week received a communication from its counterpart in Mauritius, the Independent Commission against Corruption. The Commission wanted the CBI’s assistance in confirming financial transactions for an ongoing money laundering probe, the details of which match the alleged payoffs trail in the VVIP chopper case.
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, a Port Louis-based company, named Interstellar Technologies Limited, has been named by Italian investigators as the link crucial for routing most of the payments to Switzerland, Singapore, Liechtenstein and finally back to India.
Now, the Independent Commission against Corruption has independently linked payments made to Intersteller by Infotech Design System (IDS) in Tunisia and named its CEO, Hedi Kammoun, as the person who authorised the payments to the Mauritian company. The Italian investigation has shown that AgustaWestland routed payments to the tune of 19.2 million euros to IDS Tunisia through the Arab Banking Corporation. The payments were ostensibly meant for engineering works which hardly took place.
Interestingly, the request from the Mauritian investigating agency comes at a time when the CBI itself is in the process of dispatching a Letter Rogatory (LR) to the island nation, with details of the alleged money trail leading to Interstellar Technologies, asking for further details of the company and financial transactions.
“Now, with the Mauritian investigators also probing the money laundering angle independently, we expect to reach a point of common interest. We will soon reply to the Independent Commission against Corruption and also send our LR to Port Louis,’’ said a senior CBI official.
Significantly, the communication from the Mauritian agency also mentions the onward routing of payments from Interstellar Technologies to several other destinations, with the trail finally ending in India. This matches the information and documents available with the CBI, which indicate that from Tunisia and Mauritius, the alleged kickbacks trail split into several multi-layered transactions.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.