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CBI seeks more material to proceed with helicopter graft probe

New Delhi(PTI): CBI has asked the Defence Ministry to provide material other than the press clippings so that the agency can begin its probe into alleged kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal.

In a related development, CBI has approached the Indian Mission in Italy to provide documents which may help it to register a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) in couple of days.

CBI sources said they have gone through the complaint provided by the Defence Ministry and found that they have not provided any material except some press clippings which are not enough to proceed with a preliminary enquiry in the case.

They said agency has contacted the Indian mission in Italy to collect material from the investigating and prosecuting agencies there.

They have also been asked to get documents related to the investigation which is in public domain in case they do not succeed in procuring material through official channels, they said.

The sources said CBI is trying to get the report filed by Public Prosecutor Eugenio Fusco on the basis of which Chairman and CEO of Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi was arrested by the Italian authorities as it could help it in zeroing in on Indians who could have been alleged beneficiaries of the bribes.

Earlier in the day, the agency received a complaint from the Defence Ministry seeking a probe in the alleged kickbacks given in the procurement of 12 helicopters from Finmeccanica’s subsidiary AgustaWestland, CBI sources said here.

In February 2010, India had inked the Rs 3,600 crore deal to acquire the 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters from AgustaWestland for IAF’s elite Communication Squadron, which ferries the President, PM and other VVIPs.

The deal came under the scanner of Italian agencies after allegations of kickbacks given in India surfaced.

The agencies arrested Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica on Monday as part of their probe related to international corruption.

It is alleged that Orsi, who was CEO of the company when the deal was struck, was involved in giving bribes.

Around 50 million euros (Rs 362 crore approximately), about 10 per cent of the deal, were alleged to have been given as bribes to ensure that the company clinched the contract.

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