The Italian court order convicting the then heads of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland has changed “the understanding” of CBI in its probe into 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal alleged bribery case, high-ranking sources claimed here today.
The sources said the judgment by the Milan Court of Appeals has made it clear that bribes were allegedly paid in the deal which was clinched by UK-based AgustaWestland, a sister concern of Italy-based Finmeccanica.
“The Italian court order has changed the understanding of the case by CBI. It is being probed who are beneficiaries and even in that we have reached a substantial level as far as domestic angle is concerned. What is left is the chain of fund flow for which responses to Letters Rogatory are awaited,” an official in the know of the probe said.
He was asked about the impact of Italian court’s order on the probe carried out by the agency. His response came when he was asked to explain what he meant by “understanding”.
The agency has received responses to its Letters Rogatory, a court-to-court judicial request seeking help in probe from the other country, Italy whil
e partial responses were received from Tunisia, British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom.
The responses from UAE (United Arab Emirates), Switzerland and Mauritius are still awaited, they said.
Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi and the former CEO of AgustaWestland Bruno Spagnolini were held guilty by the Milan court of Appeals, equivalent of High Courts in India, which overturned the lower court’s order.
The sources said unless they are able to complete the chain of fund flow from Italy to India, allegedly routed through various countries in the form of various contracts to shell companies, they cannot solve the riddle and file a charge sheet.
The agency had registered a case against former IAF Chief S P Tyagi and 12 others including his three cousins and five foreign nationals in the case. Tyagi has denied the allegations.
In addition, six companies including Italy-based Finmeccanica, Agusta Westland, Mohali-based IDS Infotech, Chandigarh based Aeromatrix, IDS Tunisia and IDS Mauritius have also been booked by the CBI in its FIR.
The allegation against the former Air Chief was that he had reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from altitude ceiling requirement from 6,000m to 4,500m (15,000 ft) so that AgustaWestland could be included in the bids.
However, this decision was taken in consultation with the officials of SPG and the Prime Minister’s Office.
CBI has alleged that reduction of the service ceiling– maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally– allowed the UK-based firm to get into the fray as, otherwise, its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids.