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AgustaWestland chopper deal: Joint team of CBI, MoD, MEA reaches Milan


Sanjay Suri,CNN-IBN
Feb 19, 2013 at 03:25pm IST

Milan: A Central Bureau of Investigation team has reached Milan in Italy to probe the allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal. The joint team of CBI, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs officials will first meet officials at the Indian embassy before they try and meet the prosecutor to understand the case.

CBI sources say the officials will also visit the offices of the companies. Sources have told CNN-IBN that having exhausted diplomatic options, India is hiring a lawyer in Milan to extract information from Italy as recommended by the embassy in Rome.

An Italian criminal law expert told CNN-IBN that CBI can meet the Italian prosecutor and sign an agreement to support the investigation. Criminal law professor of Bocconi University Alberto Alessandri in Milan spoke to CNN-IBN and said, "Investigation team of the Indian government has very little chance to support the investigation of public attorney. In this case I think the better solution is to have a meeting with the public prosecutor in order to set an agreement in which the Indian official can support investigation of public attorney."

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday the UK is willing to cooperate with any Indian enquiry on the AgustaWestland chopper deal. Cameron made the statement during a press conference, which was held after the meeting between Cameron and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Rs 3600 Italian chopper deal was discussed during the meeting and India conveyed strong concerns over the allegations, PM Manmohan said. "I conveyed to Prime Minister Cameron that we have very serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing 2010 contract for AgustaWestland choppers," he told reporters.

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