CBI to send team to Italy to probe chopper deal (Second Lead, correcting figure in first para)

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 15:40 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to send a team to Italy within a week to probe the alleged kickbacks paid by Italian firm Finmeccanica to clinch the $750 mn/Rs.3,600 crore deal for 12 VVIP helicopters.

The agency has received some documents pertaining to the case from the defence ministry Friday but was yet to register preliminary enquiry because it had to confirm the allegations of corruption against Indian nationals and alleged kickbacks paid by the Italian firm, said CBI sources.

"In cognizance with the gravity of the case, the agency needs some more ground work for which a team plans to go to Italy within a week," said a CBI official.

Once a complaint is received from a ministry, CBI officers decide whether it contains specific and definite allegations involving corruption or serious misconduct against public servants which fall within the ambit of CBI.

The CBI team had Thursday asked the officials to provide its files related to any sort of internal enquiry undertaken by it in connection with alleged corruption in the February 2010 deal to acquire 12 AW-101 helicopters from Finmeccanica's subsidiary AgustaWestland for IAF's elite Communication Squadron, which ferries the president, prime minister and other VVIPs, they said.

On Monday, Italian agencies had arrested Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi for alleged corruption to seal the deal.

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