The Central Bureau of Investigation team that had been camping in Milan for the past few days has finally obtained some documents on the Italian probe into the alleged payment of kickbacks by AgustaWestland in India to bag the Rs.3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal.
The law officer who was part of the two-member team returned to India with the documents on Sunday, while a Deputy Inspector General-rank officer stayed back and is expected to be back a day later.
“The team has received some documents from Italy and we hope they would be enough to institute a preliminary enquiry into the matter,” said an official.
The documents would be studied to ascertain whether, during the preliminary enquiry, the agency would have sufficient grounds to examine the Indian nationals whose names cropped up during investigations by the Italian authorities.
Since the Italian authorities had earlier refused to share certified copies of the investigation report, the CBI team had explored the possibility of accessing the documents through a formal arrangement under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
India and Italy have ratified the Convention whose provisions bind member countries to extend mutual assistance in corruption cases.
“Other channels are being explored as the system of Letters Rogatory to obtain verified information from other countries is time consuming. Multi-jurisdictional investigation and different legal systems coupled with international relations and trade affect executions of LR by a foreign country. The country concerned may not show any interest and cooperation in execution of LR and often sends replies and further queries. In some cases, as the original equipments manufacturers under scrutiny bring business to that country, sluggish response is the general tendency,” said the official.
A couple of days ago, the CBI team had met Italian foreign affairs officials and representatives of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland, who have assured that they would help in all possible ways.
The CBI is expected to get papers related to an internal probe carried out by the company.