February 16, 2013
By Vinay Kumar
PTI This February 13, 2013 photo shows an AW101 VVIP Helicopter model on display at a Finmeccanica stall recently in Bengaluru.
PTI A model of AW101 VVIP Helicopter on display at a Finmeccanica stall recently in Bengaluru. File photo
Judge says the information related to investigations is covered by secrecy
India’s efforts to get information from Italy on the Rs. 3,600-crore VVIP helicopter deal, mired in allegations of kickbacks to the tune of Rs. 362 crore, received a jolt on Saturday as an Italian court rejected New Delhi’s request for documents related to investigations, citing grounds that the information was covered by secrecy.
Keeping a close watch on the developments, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who is on a visit to Meghalaya, asked Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma to send a senior Joint Secretary of the Ministry to Italy to “gather as much evidence as possible” relating to the allegations of corruption in the acquisition of 12 helicopters for the elite communication squadron of the Indian Air Force from Italian firm Finmeccanica’s subsidiary AgustaWestland, U.K. Joint Secretary Arun Kumar Bal, who has been looking after Air Acquisitions in the Defence Ministry, is likely to travel to Italy on Monday, official sources said on Saturday.