Shortly after 5PM today, the Indian government announced that it had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs, to conduct a full investigation into the allegations of corruption and payment of illegal commissions by AgustaWestland in the 2010 AW101 VVIP copter deal. Here's the MoD's full statement:
Press reports have appeared from time to time on the subject of Italian prosecutors having initiated a probe into the alleged unethical dealings of M/s. Finmeccanica, Italy. The probe had been widened to include the Indian contract signed with M/s. Augusta Westland (UK).
The said contract was signed in February, 2010 for the purchase of 12 helicopters. In view of media reports, MoD through the Ministry of External Affairs had sought information from the Governments of Italy and UK. No specific inputs were, however, received substantiating the allegations.
In a recent report, appearing in certain sections of the media, it has been reported that the Chairman of M/s. Finmeccanica has been arrested in connection with the investigation into the case of the sale of helicopters to India. The contract signed with M/s. Augusta Westland includes specific contractual provisions against bribery and the use of undue influence as well as an Integrity Pact.
Since no specific input has been received so far from the two Governments, MoD has decided to refer the case to CBI for inquiry.