The two-member Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team camping in Italy in connection with the controversial chopper deal case is now exploring options under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) to obtain documents on the alleged payment of Rs. 362 crore as kickbacks in India to bag the Rs. 3,600-crore deal.
Italian authorities had turned down the CBI’s request to share certified documents pertaining to the case. The agency then hired two Italian firms to explore legal options to obtain the papers that the CBI considers vital for investigations into the alleged complicity of Indian nationals.
Meets Italian foreign affairs officials
CBI officials on Thursday met Italian foreign affairs officials to persuade them to part with the documents. Under UNCAC provisions member countries are bound to extend mutual legal assistance in prosecuting those involved in bribery, besides tracing and attaching proceeds of corruption.
While Italy had ratified the Convention in October 2009, the Indian government ratified it in May 2011. The United Nations General Assembly had adopted the Convention through a resolution in 2003 and it came into force in December 2005.
Meet Finmeccanica officials
The CBI officials also met Finmeccanica officials in Rome seeking access to the internal probe report in the case and were assured of all help.
Based on the findings that its subsidiary AgustaWestland had allegedly paid bribes in India to bag the deal for supply of 12 AW-101 helicopters, the Italian investigating agencies have arrested Giuseppe Orsi, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Italian Finmeccanica who then headed AgustaWestland, and the incumbent CEO of AgustaWestland.
While the CBI team is expected to be back on Sunday, investigations into the alleged role of Indian nationals may soon be initiated once the agency has some concrete information.