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VVIP chopper deal: Prosecutors shelve proceedings against Finmeccanica

Rome (PTI): In a new twist in the scam-tainted VVIP chopper deal, prosecutors Tuesday shelved proceedings against Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland, in the alleged kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore deal, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

“The prosecution found the company had nothing to do with the alleged corruption. AgustaWestland has agreed to pay a fine, while reiterating it knew nothing about the alleged bribery,” the agency quoted Finmeccanica as saying in a statement.

Prosecutors earlier this month had sought that former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi be sentenced to six years and former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini get five years in prison for allegedly paying the bribes.

AgustaWestland’s Rs 3,600 crore contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the IAF has been scrapped by the Indian Government over the charges of paying kickbacks to Indian agents.

The government had cancelled AgustaWestland’s contract on January 1 and began the process of encashing bank guarantees of the Anglo-Italian firm worth around Rs 2,200 crore deposited in banks of Italy and India.

Orsi has denied any wrongdoing, telling a preliminary investigations judge that all his actions were “motivated by the exclusive interest of Finmeccanica and all its subsidiaries”.

He also denied knowing the family of former IAF chief S P Tyagi. Prosecutors alleged that members of Tyagi’s family received bribes paid by Finmeccanica to secure the contract for 12 VVIP choppers for the IAF.

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