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Fate of AgustaWestland chopper deal probe hangs in balance as Italian elections head to a deadlock


Sanjay Suri,CNN-IBN
Feb 26, 2013 at 12:51pm IST

Rome: The voting in Italian elections finished on Monday. As counting is on, indications are that none of the two alliances will be able to form a government. While sources say that this is normal in Italy, the deadlock could mean that the fate of the AgustaWestland chopper deal probe hangs in balance. AgustaWestland is at the centre of the chopper deal controversy involving a few Indian defence officers.

There are two Houses in the Italian Parliament and a government must have a majority in both to be able to pass legislation. However, early indications are that the Centre-Left front - led by Pier Luigi Bersani - has less than 1 per cent lead in the Lower House, while the Centre-Right alliance, led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has a small lead in the Senate.

ALSO SEE Chopper deal: CBI faces tough task ahead in investigations despite filing PE

With regard to the chopper deal, while Bersani had said that there was a need to check the corruption charges, Berlusconi had said bribery was normal in business dealings.

The political impasse may not do anything for Italy and its economy, it, however, may not be all bad for the chopper deal enquiry, say sources. The investigations could proceed unhindered from either side, they add.

On Monday, the CBI registered a Preliminary Enquiry in the case. It also named former Air Chief SP Tyagi, along with his cousins Julie and Dosca Tyagi and three key middlemen, as alleged beneficiaries of kickbacks.

According to the Italian probe report, Gautam Khaitan and Praveen Bakshi were the two individuals who were used to route money into India.

CBI will be probing their role as well. Other names mentioned in the PE include Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of Finmeccanica, which is the parent company of AgustaWestland, and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO Finmeccanica. It also names Guido Haschke, the key middleman who was handling money for the Indians, Carlo Gerosa, who was Hasckey's partner in the VVIP chopper deal and Christian Michel, who holds the key to the entire AgustaWestland deal and allegedly made Rs 217 crores in the deal.

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