In what may snowball into fresh trouble for the government,Italian authorities have approached the Indian government seeking details of the contract between AgustaWestland and the the Ministry of Defence related to the procurement of 12 VVIP choppers.
The judicial request from an Italian court was received by the Ministry of Home Affairs through the Ministry of External Affairs. The MHA has been urged to expedite its replies to the letter rogatories (LR) a formal request from a court to a foreign court for judicial assistance.
The LR will be processed through the judicial division of the MHA,which can also seek the CBIs help in replying to questions raised by the Italian investigators. In its query,the investigators also sought to know the details regarding change in qualitative requirement to change the service ceiling of the choppers,officials said.
Seeking urgent action,the MoD in a letter sent on October 29 to the MHA underlined the governments limitations in sharing details of the contracts and other documents. As the date of hearing in Italy is fixed for November 26,the MoD has asked the MHA to expedite the replies of LRs.
During its probe,the CBI has also sent LRs to Italy and three other countries. Sources said India will have to provide the details sought by Italian authorities in order to get its LRs executed on a reciprocal basis. However,deliberations are on at the highest level to share the information,given the fact that the case is still being investigated by CBI.
The CBI,which registered the FIR after series of reports by The Indian Express,is also inching towards filing a chargesheet into the multi-crore scam.
In its FIR registered earlier this year,the agency named 13 persons,including former Chief of Air Staff SP Tyagi and his three cousins. Others who have been named in the FIR are European middlemen Carlo Gerosa,Christian Michel and Guido Haschke.
The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland had come under scanner after Italian authorities alleged that bribes were paid by the company to clinch the deal.