Indian officials to probe Italian helicopter deal
NEW DELHI (AP) - Two Indian federal investigators will travel to Italy this week to meet with prosecutors probing allegations that the Italian company Finmeccanica paid bribes to secure a 560 million euro (S$925 million) deal to sell 12 helicopters to India, a government official said on Sunday.
Dharini Mishra, a spokeswoman for India's Central Bureau of Investigation, said a senior investigating officer and a law officer would travel to Italy, but she declined to give other details. Indian media reports said the CBI team would leave for Italy on Monday.
India's Defense Ministry this past week asked the CBI, India's equivalent of the United States' FBI, to investigate the deal after Finmeccanica's chief executive was arrested in Milan on charges he paid bribes to obtain the contract. Giuseppe Orsi, who has been jailed, denies wrongdoing.
The ministry, meanwhile, put the deal to purchase the 12 helicopters on hold and sent a notice to Finmeccanica's AgustaWestland helicopter division seeking cancellation of the agreement. The company was given a week to respond to the notice.