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PE filed on basis of names in Italy ‘search warrants’

The probe into alleged corruption in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters is based on “search warrants” provided by the Italian authorities

Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi |
February 27, 2013 1:09:28 am

The probe into alleged corruption in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters is based on “search warrants” provided by the Italian authorities. After a series of reports by The Indian Express,a three member CBI-MoD team visited Italy last week in connection with the case and was supplied with search warrants. These warrants were executed by Italian authorities at the house of several suspects in connection with Finmeccanica scandal,the parent Italian company of AgustaWestland which won the contract for choppers.

According to the CBI,the search warrants contain details of not only Indian contacts,including former Air Chief S P Tyagi,one of the prime suspect,but also names of foreign nationals accused of acting as middlemen and channeling kickbacks of nearly Rs 370 crore in the Rs 3,546 crore deal. Sources said that the probe will be completed within three to four weeks after which the agency will decide whether or not to register an FIR.

The search warrants contained details of seizures made by the Italian authorities. The agency managed to collect details of seizures made,including files,contracts papers and bank account statements of individuals,Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland.

The probe will try to identify the money trail spread in Tunisia and Mauritius. However,the agency cannot send any letter rogatories to any of these countries without registering a case,and will have to depend on mutual assistance treaty.

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In its preliminary report registered on Monday,the agency has named IDS Ltd and Aeromatrix India Ltd. The CBI has also named 11 persons in its Preliminary Enquiry (PE),including former CEO and chairman of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi,CEO of AgustaWestland Bruno Spagnolini,and three middlemen Guido Hascke,Carlo Gerosa and Christian Michel. The agency said the Indian named in the PE will soon be called for examination.

The former Air Chief,while distancing himself from his cousins named in the PE,has denied any wrongdoing and offered himself for a probe. The agency is seeking the help of Ministry of External Affairs to facilitate the supply of other documents from the Italian prosecutors. “A Memorandum of Understanding signed between India and Italy in 2007 will be used to seek the documents with the help of MEA,” explained a CBI official.

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