Britain assures help in VVIP chopper deal probe

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 09:08 hrs

New Delhi: British Prime Minister David Cameron Tuesday said his government would "respond to any request" for information on the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

"In terms of AgustaWestland, as the prime minister said, we would respond to any request for information," Cameron said at a joint press conference here with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"I am glad the Italian authorities are looking into this issue in detail as Finmeccanica is an Italian company, the parent company of AgustaWestland," he said.

Cameron said Britain has tough anti-bribery laws and anyone guilty would be punished.

"We are extremely clear in Britain. We have introduced anti-bribery legislation, the strongest anywhere in the world," he said, adding that his government would deal with "any problem of bribery or corruption wherever they appear and whenever they appear".

The chopper deal controversy started after Italian agencies arrested Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi for suspected corruption to seal the deal.

A team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and defence ministry officials left for Italy Monday to get more information on the alleged kickbacks in the $750 million (Rs.3,600 crore) chopper deal.

The defence ministry last week initiated action for cancellation of the contract for buying 12 AgustaWestland choppers for VVIP use by the Indian Air Force.

It also issued a formal show-cause notice to AgustaWestland to explain within a week why the contract should not be cancelled.

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