Italian Court Verdict in AgustaWestland Case Bad News for CBI?
Image used for representational purposes. 
Image used for representational purposes. (Photo: Reuters)

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.

Also Read : VVIP Chopper Scam: Italian Court Acquits Ex-Finmeccanica CEO

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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.”

The alleged involvement of others (who, according to some allegations, are Congress leaders) is based on the links with the two local men. When the link is broken, the case against Indians will not survive.
As told to The Indian Express

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.

Where did this money come from and how did it reach the accused? All this will impact (CBI’s probe), but it should not have a major impact on the CBI-ED case.
As told to The Indian Express

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.

Political mileage was sought to be drawn, (but that) has all fallen flat. The conspiracy in the scam, or any criminal act attributed to Indians, cannot be sustained in isolation when the local court in Italy have not found them guilty.

However, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal seemed positive of the CBI’s probe on Monday, soon after the Milan court delivered its verdict.

CBI probe is independent and the case against accused persons is very strong. Their (trial, in Italy) was conducted on the basis of evidence provided by Italian authorities.

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.

Insufficient or lack of evidence does not mean that they are innocent. We will have to examine the Italian court’s judgment — if the ruling says there is insufficient evidence, then the CBI does not have to worry.
As told to The Indian Express

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.

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