Chopper Deal: CBI, MoD Team to Leave for Italy on Feb 18
A joint team of CBI and Defence Ministry officials will leave for Italy on Monday to verify allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal.

Official sources said the departure of the team was delayed by a day due to some last-minute formalities which required to be fulfilled before traveling abroad for the purpose of investigation.

They said the team will try to meet Italian prosecutors to ascertain the details of the case.

The team comprises a CBI DIG, a law officer of the agency, a Joint Secretary level officer of Defence Ministry and an official of the External Affairs Ministry, the sources said.

The decision by the CBI came as it virtually drew a blank from the Defence Ministry in getting some official inputs regarding alleged kickbacks of Rs.362 crore in the case, they said.

The CBI was handed over a letter from the Defence Ministry seeking a probe by it in the case which has triggered a storm in the country. Attached with the letter were some Indian and Italian press clippings, which the CBI said, could not form the basis for registering a case.

CBI had sought help of Indian Mission in Rome which too has not been able to provide any authenticated court documents to the agency, the sources said.

This was followed by CBI seeking help of Interpol which also expressed inability to provide any help in the absence of any regular case not having been registered by the agency, they said.

The Defence Ministry had yesterday sent a team led by Joint Secretary and an Air Commodore of Indian Air Force, who gave a presentation to the CBI about the tendering procedures and various stages while finalising the helicopter deal with AgustaWestland.

However, when pressed by the CBI officials about the kickback allegations, the team could not provide any answers to the sleuths, the sources said.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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