Copter deal: India asks Italy for details of middleman

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 26, 2012 17:10 hrs

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) India Friday renewed its request to Italy to provide details of the existence of any middlemen or any individual or Indian entity in the contract for helicopters from Augusta Westland for VVIP use.

"The ministry of defence has once again taken up the matter with the Italian government through the ministry of external affairs and has asked for an early response on the issue," defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said in a statement.

The defence ministry said it will take strong action against the offenders detected through this probe. The deal for 12 VVIP choppers is estimated to be around $800 million.

The defence ministry has asked the Italian government and concerned agencies there through the external affairs ministry to provide the name and relevant documents relating to the alleged involvement of a brigadier in the ongoing process for the acquisition of 197 light utility helicopters for the Indian Army, he said.

The name of Brigadier V.S. Saini, a serving Indian Army officer, has surfaced in a document that Italian investigators have found in the course of their probe into possible kickbacks or commissions paid by Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer Augusta Westland (AW).

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