The CBI and the Ministry of Defence have sent an officer each to Milan, Italy to attend trial in connection with corruption involving helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica in sealing the deal to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force.
Law enforcement agencies in Italy have alleged that AgustaWestland and its CEO Bruno Spagnolini, Finmeccanica and its CEO Giuseppe Orsi, and other accused used middlemen to pay bribes amounting to `362 crore to bag the contract worth `3,600 crore to supply 12 units of AW101 model helicopter to the IAF.
The trial is scheduled to begin from Wednesday. As India is an affected party in the case, the MoD representative would get access to information of prosecution’s findings in the graft case.
In India, the CBI had registered a case against 13 people in the multi-crore VVIP chopper scam on March 12. The names of the accused in the case include former Air Chief S P Tyagi.
The CBI alleged that the IAF planned to acquire helicopters, which could operate at an altitude of 6,000 meters. But the middlemen allegedly used their connections with Tyagi’s cousins to get the tender details changed in favour of AgustaWestland by reducing the ‘operational ceiling’ at which helicopters could fly.