The CBI has given a clean chit to a top Tata steel executive whose named figured in an Italian investigation into the VVIP chopper deal kickbacks scandal with officials saying that the case seems to be one of mistaken identity.
Sources said that after the name of senior Tata Steel executive Partha Sengupta emerged in the Italian investigation as being in touch with key accused middlemen,the agency called the executive to provide a clarification.
However,after probing the issue,the CBI is believed to have come to a conclusion that Italian investigators mistakenly identified Sengupta as the person whose name figured in several taped conversations of the middlemen as well as AgustaWestland officials who are accused of generating bribes worth 51 million euros to fix the deal.
Meanwhile,it is learnt that the CBI has received an order from Italian courts informing it that the Indian government has been made a party to the prosecution case against AgustaWestland officials and middlemen that is set to begin on June 19. However,officials ruled out the possibility of a CBI team heading to Italy for the trial process,indicating that the matter would be handled by the Defence Ministry.
As reported,the name of the Tata executive cropped up in the context of a company being set up in Tunisia,with Switzerland-based middleman Guido Haschke claiming that it is a buffer company that will not directly link him with the chopper firm.
Italian investigators had noted in the report that the link to Tunisia is important as AgustaWestland is paying Haschkes due in Tunisia.
The man named in the conversation is a certain Partha and Italian investigators have noted in the report that the reference was to Sengupta who is vice-president of Tata Steel. He was alleged to be in touch with top Agusta official Bruno Spagnolini who is a key accused in the case.
While Tata has a joint venture with AgustaWestand to build AW119 choppers in Hyderabad as part of the Indian Rotocraft limited joint venture,the company had always denied any link with marketing,sales or representation of any product of the Italian company.