In a major relief to several Indian politicians and military officials, an Italian court in Milan acquitted two top executives on the grounds of no evidence of corruption found in the VVIP chopper scam case. According to the document released by the court proof of corruption could be found in the 2010 deal between India and AgustaWestland where India bought 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland.
“There is, conclusively, no evidence of the corrective agreement stipulated according to the imputation, with the foreign public official, just as it requires the incriminating law …” the court said in a 322-page judgment.
In early 2013, several Indian politicians and military officials were accused of accepting bribes from AgustaWestland to win the Rs 36 billion contract to supply 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters. An Indian national parliamentary investigation started to probe the allegations of bribery and corruption that involved several senior officials and a helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland.
And now a new twist:
Italian court finds no scam, no bribes paid to any Indian public official, in IAF’s Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland ‘VVIP’ helicopter deal
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) September 23, 2018
These helicopters were intended to perform VVIP duties for the President of India and other important state officials. The scam became popular with the name Chopper Scam or Choppergate in media.
The top executives Giuseppe Orsi, the former President of Finmeccanica and Bruno Spagnolini, the former CEO of the AgustaWestland helicopter unit were acquitted by the Italian Supreme Court in January 2018. However, the court has now released documents to explain the reasons for their acquittal.
However the CBI in India has maintained that the probe in the country is independent and won’t be affected by the Italian court’s judgement since the same evidence had led to conviction.