The Indian government on Tuesday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the AugustaWestland deal for 12 VVIP choppers.
The government made the move after the Italian police on Tuesday arrested Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of state-controlled Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi in connection with the investigation into the case of the sale of helicopters to India.
"Press reports have appeared from time to time on the subject of Italian prosecutors having initiated a probe into the alleged unethical dealings of M/s. Finmeccanica, Italy. The probe had been widened to include the Indian contract signed with M/s. Augusta Westland (UK)," Ministry of Deference said in statement on Tuesday.
"The said contract was signed in February, 2010 for the purchase of 12 helicopters. In view of media reports, MoD through the Ministry of External Affairs had sought information from the Governments of Italy and UK. No specific inputs were, however, received substantiating the allegations," the ministry said.
"In a recent report, appearing in certain sections of the media, it has been reported that the Chairman of M/s. Finmeccanica has been arrested in connection with the investigation into the case of the sale of helicopters to India. The contract signed with M/s. Augusta Westland includes specific contractual provisions against bribery and the use of undue influence as well as an Integrity Pact." it said.
"Since no specific input has been received so far from the two Governments, MoD has decided to refer the case to CBI for inquiry," it said.
Meanwhile, Italian police arrested Orsi in Rome for alleged bribes paid in order to secure the deal, reports said.
"Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of state-controlled Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested on Tuesday in relation to a probe into international corruption," Italian news agency ANSA reported.
"Orsi is suspected of involvement in the payment of bribes regarding the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters produced by AgustaWestland, which Finmeccanica controls," it said.