This Article is From Jul 27, 2016

AgustaWestland Bribery Scam: CBI Team Returns From Italy

AgustaWestland Bribery Scam: CBI Team Returns From Italy

The case is now being probed by a SIT headed by an Additional Director of the agency.

New Delhi: A two-member CBI team visited Italy recently and collected details in the AugustaWestland VVIP Helicopter deal case from key police and legal officials there who had probed the graft allegations there.
As part of its investigations, the agency is focussing on money trail of a suspected 50 million Euros bribe amount spread across eight countries.

When asked whether CBI has also recorded the statements of former Finmeccanica Chief Giuseppe Orsi and former CEO of Bruno Spagnolini, both convicted by an Italian court, in connection with its probe, CBI officials today maintained silence but they said the visit has given a "new impetus" to the probe.

The case is now being probed by a SIT headed by an Additional Director of the agency.

The sources, however, said the two-member team did visit Milan on a four-day visit during which they met legal and police authorities who were probing the case in their country.

They have said that all the details sought by the agency from the Italy were provided through the Letters Rogatory which was the only country among seven others which has provided complete details.

The sources did not respond as to why the team visited Italy when CBI has received all the details through LR,

They said the agency is focussing on the money trail of suspected kickbacks of over 50 million Euros (about Rs 369 crore at present exchange rates) believed to have been moved across eight countries.

CBI had sent Letters Rogatory (judicial request from an Indian court seeking investigation in a foreign entity through investigation agencies of that country) to eight countries--Italy, the United Kingdom, British Virgin Island, Tunisia, Switzerland, Singapore, the UAE and Mauritius.

While Italy had completely complied with the LR, Tunisia, British Virgin Islands, Switzerland and the UK have partly responded. CBI has sent them a reminder for furnishing the information.

Mauritius, Singapore and the UAE have not responded to the request, the sources said.

CBI had registered a case against former IAF Chief SP Tyagi along with 13 others including his cousins and European middlemen in connection with alleged bribery in the 2010 deal of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters for VVIPs.

The allegation against the former Air Chief was that he reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000m to 4,500m (15,000ft) which put AgustaWestland helicopters in the race for the deal without which its choppers were not even qualified for submission of bids.

Mr Tyagi has denied allegations against him claiming innocence and that the change of specifications, which brought AgustaWestland into contention, was a collective decision in which senior officers of Indian Air Force, SPG, NSA and other departments were involved.