Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Agusta Westland Chopper SCAM: ED probing money trail in copter scam

New Delhi: The Delhi unit of the Enforcement Directorate has already begun the trail of alleged payoffs received by some Indian entities in the defence deal in which Italian company AgustaWestland is suspected to have paid more than Rs 350 crore to middlemen.

The Rs 3,500-crore deal made in 2010 was for the supply of 12 choppers to be used by Indian VVIPs. The alleged payoffs to middlemen are believed to be in the range of 10%-15% of the total deal amount.

On Tuesday, the Italian authorities, who were probing the alleged payoffs for over a year, arrested the head of AgustaWestland in Milan on charges of paying bribes to middlemen, who helped in pushing through the deal in India. Sources said the ED had started a discreet probe into the alleged payoffs sometime ago, and now after the government has asked the CBI to conduct an inquiry; the ED may join the probe formally.

This was the second big defence deal in which the ED has been trailing alleged payoffs. Earlier, the agency had been asked by the government to investigate the alleged payoffs received by arms-dealer Abhishek Verma. In Verma’s case, his estranged business partner, American attorney C Edmond Allen, had written to defence minister A K Antony last year, giving details of alleged payoffs received by Verma in some past defence deals amounting to over $400 million. Verma, according to Allen, had invested a part of this payment, amounting to $530,000, in a US company called Ganton. This commission, according to him, had come from Swiss firm Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD).

Alot of documents are available in Verma’s case as Allen has offered to turn approver. But in the Italian case, the government says authorities in Milan have refused to share any details about the Indian recipients of the alleged payoffs.


No comments:

Post a Comment