UPA govt intentionally held back key info: Italian court on VVIP Chopper deal
New Delhi: An Italian court has observed that the erstwhile UPA government held back key information and showed substantial disregard in arriving at the complete truth behind Rs 3,565-crore deal VVIP chopper scandal.
According to an Economics Times report, Indian government showed substantial disregard in arriving at the full truth behind the VVIP chopper scandal and even did not share critical documents with investigators.
The court, which found corruption in the Rs 3,565-crore deal, also noted that the then Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti made efforts to reach out to his Indian counterpart.
In its 225-page order, accessed by ET, the Court of Appeals, Milan, detailed at length its grounds for conviction. At one point, it observed (translated): "This showing (of) a substantial disregard to arrive at a full explanation of facts (was) effectively demonstrated by the procedural behaviour of the Indian Ministry of Defence."
Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica's former chief Giuseppe Orsi has already been sentenced by the Milan appeals court to 4.5 years in jail for false accounting and corruption over the sale of 12 VVIP choppers to India for Rs 3,600 crore.
In the ruling, which overtured a previous court order of 2014, Bruno Spagnolini, the former CEO of Finmeccanica's helicopter subsidiary AgustaWestland, was also handed a four- year prison term by the court yesterday.
The court found both guilty of corruption in relation to the sale of 12 helicopters to the Indian government and sentenced Orsi to a jail term of four and a half years.
The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under the scanner after Italian authorities alleged that bribe was paid by the company to clinch the deal.
The Italian prosecutor who carried out the preliminary inquiry alleged that the chief executive officer (CEO) of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland, had allegedly used the services of middlemen to bribe Indian officials.