UPA Govt ‘Disregarded Facts’ in VVIP Chopper Scam: Italian Court

The court accused the UPA government of “substantial disregard to arrive at a full explanation of facts”.

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The Italian court had earlier ruled that the deal to purchase 12 VVIP helicopters by India from AgustaWestland involved international corruption. (Photo: Reuters)

An Italian court has accused the UPA government of showing substantial disregard in dealing with the VVIP chopper scandal, reports The Economic Times. Among other things, the Manmohan Singh-led government did not share relevant documents with investigators, the court observed. The court, which found corruption in the Rs 3,565-crore deal, also noted that the then Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti made efforts to reach out to his Indian counterpart.

In its 225-page order, accessed by Economic Times, the Court of Appeals, Milan, detailed at length its grounds for conviction. At one point, it observed (translated): “This showing (of) a substantial disregard to arrive at a full explanation of facts (was) effectively demonstrated by the procedural behaviour of the Indian Ministry of Defence.”
The Economic Times Report

The Italian court mentioned a handwritten note recovered in March 2013 from former Finmeccanica head Giuseppe Orsi’s prison cell. “Call Monti or amb. Teracciano in my name to ask him to call the PM Singh.”

Terracciano was diplomatic advisor to then Italian PM at the time.

The court observed that while it’s not in a “position to determine what was the message that Orsi, during his detention, intended to send to the head of Government of India but the same can be guessed if we think about the outcome of requests for judicial assistance sent to Indian authorities.”

Italy had requested India as early as April 2013 for relevant documents but only three were provided by March 2014.

The Italian court had earlier ruled that the 2010 deal to purchase 12 VVIP helicopters by India from AgustaWestland involved international corruption and ordered a four-and-a-half-years jail term to the former head of the company, Giuseppe Orsi.

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