Italian Court Verdict in AgustaWestland Case Bad News for CBI?
An Italian court on Monday, 8 January, acquitted two big names embroiled in the AgustaWestland case – Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini. Orsi, the former president of defence giant Finmeccanica and Spagnolini, former CEO of AgustaWestland, were both charged with international corruption arising from falsely invoicing bribes that they had allegedly taken from India in exchange for the contract.
Following the duo’s acquittal, several defence and legal experts opined that the Italian court’s verdict could have a negative bearing on the CBI’s probe in the case.
Speaking to The Indian Express, acclaimed criminal lawyer Majeed Memon said the fact that the two Italians were found “not guilty or involvement in criminal activity” could mean that the “case against Indians will not survive.”
Former CBI Chief AP Singh opined that while the acquittal could impact the CBI’s probe, it could not have much of an impact on the CBI-ED case. Citing an alleged money trail stemming from Italy to India, Singh questioned the source of this supposed money.
Meanwhile, Memon also shot down the politics that had surrounded the AgustaWestland case, with the BJP mudslinging Congress leaders for their alleged involvement in the scam.
However, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal seemed positive of the CBI’s probe on Monday, soon after the Milan court delivered its verdict.
Former CBI special director DR Karthikeyan concurs with Dayal’s statement, stating that though the Italian court’s verdict could have a psychological impact, it will, otherwise, not have a substantial impact on the CBI’s investigation.
The CBI had filed a chargesheet in September against former IAF chief SP Tyagi and nine others for bribery amounting to Rs 450 crore in the case.