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Govt orders CBI probe into VIP chopper deal after head of Italian firm Finmeccanica is arrested

New Delhi The Central Bureau of Investigation will investigate a 4,000-crore helicopter deal between the government and Italian defence giant Finmeccanica, whose CEO was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly offering bribes in India to land the contract, according to Italian media.

The Defence Ministry said on Tuesday that its own inquiry has not revealed any financial malpractices and that the deal for 12 helicopters, intended for use by VIPs including the Prime Minister, will not be suspended.

The contract was signed in 2010; three of the helicopters have already been delivered to India.

Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi, who was arrested on Tuesday in Rome, had been under investigation for months and had denied any wrongdoing in the deal for the sale of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters to India in 2010.

The state-controlled Finmeccanica group has been investigated in Italy for three years for allegedly paying bribes in different countries and at home. The company has refuted the charges.

In a statement in February, Finmeccanica said, "AgustaWestland is not involved in any irregularity concerning the supply of helicopters in India. No notice related to the investigations has been served." (Read full statement)

Meanwhile, the main opposition party, BJP, has said that the Centre owes an explanation on the deal with Finmeccanica. "The country which would have benefited from the deal has taken action  while the country which lost money has not done anything," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters.
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