Former AgustaWestland Chief To Be Retried in Indian Chopper Bribery Case

  • Our Bureau
  • 02:30 PM, December 17, 2016
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Former AgustaWestland Chief To Be Retried in Indian Chopper Bribery Case
Former Finmeccanica Chief Giuseppe Orsi (File Photo)

Italy’s apex court has ordered a re-trial of former top executives at Leonardo-Finmeccanica over alleged irregularities in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal worth US $753 million.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested former Air Chief SP Tyagi and two others last Friday on graft charges.

Italian Media in April this year had reported that Giuseppe Orsi former Finmeccanica boss, was sentenced by the Milan appeals court to 4.5 years in jail for false accounting and corruption over the sale of 12 luxury helicopters to India while a four-year jail term on the same charges was handed down to Bruno Spagnolini, former head of AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica.

The case against the two stemmed from an investigation launched in 2012 into the sale of 12 luxury helicopters to India's government.

Orsi was arrested in January 2014 and resigned as chief executive of the aerospace group following the leak of a report by a whistle-blower.

India cancelled the deal with AgustaWestland after Orsi’s arrest and began its own investigation into allegations that the company paid bribes to win the 556-million-euro (USD 753 million) contract. Two helicopters had been delivered to India and are gathering dust in Delhi.

In their first trial in October 2014, the two former executives were sentenced to two years in prison on the false accounting charge. But the appeals court had ruled on corruption.

Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan, and SP Tyagi’s cousin, Sanjeev Tyagi, alias Julie Tyagi also arrested by CBI in the case. The CBI said that all the three people have been arrested for accepting illegal gratification for exercising influence through corrupt or illegal means.

The total bribe amount was 12% (about $90 million) of the main amount, says CBI. “They were arrested on the allegations of who accepted illegal gratification for exercising influence through corrupt or illegal means,” said the CBI. According to the CBI, all the accused have been arrested under Section 120B, Section 420 IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. They were called for questioning at the CBI headquarters. The probe revealed that undue favour was shown and that AgustaWestland Ltd accepted illegal vendors through middlemen and relatives, including, Sanjeev Tyagi,” CBI said.

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