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Chopper deal: Italian court refuses to share information and documents with India

Rome, Feb. 16 (ANI): The Italian court, which is hearing the case of alleged corruption into the Agusta Westland deal for 12 VVIP choppers, has refused to share any documents and information related to the investigations into the case with India.

According to media reports, the court has informed the Indian embassy here that the investigation is at an initial stage and the documents can only be shared with the parties in the case, arguing that the information is covered by secrecy.

It may be a major setback for India as the Ministry of Defence, earlier in the day, directed a senior-level official to travel to Italy to gather as much evidence as possible relating to the allegations of corruption in the acquisition of 12 AW 101 VVIP helicopters.

Joint Secretary A.K. Bal will be leaving for Rome as early as on Monday.

The Defence Ministry has also directed the CBI to probe the matter and two officials from the CBI will also be visiting Italy.

The copter scam has unfolded with the arrest of the head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company.

Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi, who was arrested on Tuesday in Rome, had been under investigation for months and had denied any wrongdoing in the deal for the sale of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters to India in 2010.

AgustaWestland, the Italian firm is presently at the centre of a controversy over allegations of paying kickbacks in the Rs 3600 crore VVIP chopper deal. (ANI)