Latest AgustaWestland verdict will impact India probe: Ex-CBI chief

ANI | Updated: Jan 10, 2018 21:01 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan 10 (ANI): After a Milan court acquitted Giuseppe Orsi, former president of Italian defence giant Finmeccanica, and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO of the company's helicopters subsidiary AgustaWestland, former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief A.P. Singh on Wednesday said the verdict will have an impact on investigations in India.

"I am not aware of the details of the case because I was not there when the case was registered. .. The information also first came from Italy that some bribe has been paid in this deal. Then they were later acquitted and they were being convicted and now they are acquitted again. So, finally the highest court has acquitted them. So, definitely it would have an impact on the Indian investigations because the major part of the investigation was based on the Italian investigation," Singh told ANI.

The former CBI chief, however said that there are two parts to the investigation and the Indian part is still relevant.

"But there are two parts of this investigation. One the Italian authorities have investigated..But there is an Indian part of the investigation, which is relevant and it will still remain relevant that the allegation was that the QRs of the helicopters were changed to favour AugustaWestland. Now, it is up to the investigating authority to prove that this happened," he added.

An Italian court on Monday acquitted two former Leonardo (earlier Finmeccanica) executives in the AgustaWestland case, wherein bribes were paid to secure the contract of supplying 12 VVIP choppers to India.

Giuseppe Orsi, a former president of Leonardo, and the former head of the subsidiary AgustaWestland, Bruno Spagnolini, were acquitted for want of evidence.

The Italian media reported that The Court of Appeal of Milan acquitted the two ex-Leonardo managers since there was no evidence to support the corruption charges.

Orsi and Spagnolini were accused of bribing Indian officials and make false billings, in order to obtain the 556-million euro contract (Rs 3,700 crore) for around 12 helicopters in India.

According to the allegations, Orsi and Spagnolini, who both succeeded in securing the position of managing director of AgustaWestland had bribed S.P.Tyagi, the then chief of the Indian Air Force, to obtain the lowering of the flight quota, by making changes, as indicated in a tender notice.

With the changes made, as suggested by the two, the AgustaWestland would have taken the honours. The Indian government and the Revenue Agency were civil parties at that time in the process.

In April last year, Orsi was convicted for four and a half years and Spagnolini for four years.

Italy's highest court, however, had ordered a new appeal process in December last year. The attorney general had recently asked for confirmation of convictions, regarding the dispute of false invoices. The judges, on the other hand, agreed with the defendants who had asked for an acquittal.

The motivations for the sentence would be announced within 90 days.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), earlier on September 1 last year, had filed a charge sheet against retired Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi, former Air Marshal J S Gujral and ten others in the case.

The chargesheet, filed before a special court, also named as accused Air Chief Marshal Tyagi's cousin Sanjeev Tyagi, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, alleged middleman Christian Michel, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and former Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi.

The investigation conducted and various documents collected so far revealed that AgustaWestland International Ltd, UK paid an amount of Euro 58 million as kickbacks through Gordian Services Sarl, Tunisia and IDS Sarl, Tunisia.

These companies further siphoned off the said money in the name of consultancy contracts to the Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius and others, which were further transferred to UHY Saxena, Dubai, Matrix Holdings Ltd, Dubai and others. (ANI)

iocl