Chopper Scam: Orsi, Spagnolini's acquittal won't impact case, says CBI

ANI | Updated: Jan 08, 2018 21:53 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan 8 (ANI): The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday said that acquittal of Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini in the AgustaWestland case, would have no impact on the case.

The CBI, in a statement, said: "Both (Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini) have been convicted by the lower court in Italy. The Italian authorities can appeal against the acquittal before the Supreme Court of Italy. Our investigation is independent and we have a strong case against both of them. This acquittal will, however, have no impact on our case".

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, 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 Sashi Tyagi, the then chief of staff 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.

n April last year, the two Leonardo managers had been convicted of both the crimes: Orsi 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 SP Tyagi, former Air Marshal JS 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)