Govt orders CBI probe into Augusta chopper deal

By: admin
Updated: 12 Feb 2013 05:03 AM

Italian police on Tuesday arrested the chief executive of aerospace
and defence giant Finmeccanica for corruption and embezzlement in relation
to alleged bribes given to the Indian government, media reports said.

Giuseppe Orsi 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. Watch: Finmeccanica's
CEO held on corruption charges

Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry ordered CBI probe into VVIP chopper deal
after the arrest of the head of Italian firm Finmeccanica on charges of

The magistrate in the case also issued an order for the head of
AgustaWestland, Bruno Spagnolini, to be put under house arrest.

Two suspected intermediaries in the bribes who reside in Switzerland have
also been targeted with extradition requests, Italian media reported.

is not the only Italian industrial giant under investigation.

Prosecutors last week announced they were looking at Paolo Scaroni, chief
executive of energy major ENI, over allegations of bribes paid to Algerian
officials to win contracts there.

Italy's third largest bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, has also been
shaken by a series of investigations over mismanagement that has forced it
to seek a public bailout.

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

Finmeccanica statement
With reference to the precautionary
measures issued today towards the Chairman and CEO of Finmeccanica and the
CEO of the controlled Company AgustaWestland, Finmeccanica confirms that
the operating activities and ongoing projects of the Company will continue
as usual.

In addition, Finmeccanica expresses support for its Chairman and CEO, with
the hope that clarity is established quickly, whilst reaffirming its
confidence in the Judges.

Chopper deal scam: Italy asked for information
India has asked
Italy for information about allegations of corruption in the $749.2
million Indian helicopter contract with Italian firm Finmeccanica
following the arrest of the defence giant's chief.

"The Indian mission in Rome has asked the Italian government for
information they have on the matter; but there has been no response so
far," Indian external affairs ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told
reporters on Tuesday.

Akbaruddin said they were informed by Italy that "there it is a judicial
process involved", and "no information has been shared by Rome on the

Key facts related to AugustaWestland chopper deal:
won a government contract to build choppers after it edged out
Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk.

The new helicopters were being procured to replace the ageing Russian-made
Mi-8 helicopters.

According to reports in an Italian daily 'La Repubblica', slush funds (a
reserve of money used for illicit purposes) were generated after a
"sudden" escalation of price by 10 million euros in 2010.

The Indian Air Force has received the first two of the 12 three-engined AW
101 helicopters, procured at the cost of Rs 3,550 crore for ferrying VVIPs
like the President and the Prime Minister in December 2012.

India had signed a Rs 3,550 crore deal in 2010 with the Anglo-Italian firm
Agusta Westland for buying 12 of these three-engined choppers.

Watch: Finmeccanica's
CEO held on corruption charges