Agusta westland chopper scam


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Agusta westland chopper scam

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Agusta westland chopper scam

  1. 1. AgustaWestland Chopper Scam EscrowTech India Private Limited Creative Enclave, III Floor, #148-150, Luz Church Road, Mylapore, Chennai, India – 600 004. Phone: +91 44 45535571/72 Tele Fax: +91 44 42104341 Email: Website: P. Geetha Office Administrator
  2. 2. Introduction In early 2013, an Indian national parliamentary investigation began into allegations of bribery and corruption involving several senior officials and a helicopter manufacturer by AgustaWestland surrounding the purchase of a new fleet of helicopters. The scandal has been referred to as the Chopper scam or Choppergate by elements of the media and popular press Several Indian politicians and military officials have been accused of accepting bribes from AgustaWestland in order to win the ₹36 billion(US$530 million) Indian contract for the supply of 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters; these helicopters are intended to perform VVIP.
  3. 3. Overview India signed a contract to purchase 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters in February 2010 for the Communication Squadron of Indian Air Force to carry the president, PM and other VVIPs. Controversy over the contract came to light on 12 February 2013 with the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland's parent company by Italian authorities; the following day Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony ordered a probe into the contract.
  4. 4. Investigation After a huge controversy and allegations of corruption, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, on 12 February, ordered an investigation by the CBI. CBI registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against 11 persons including the former Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, and his cousins, besides four companies. In 2013, billionaire Indian arms dealer Abhishek Verma and his Romanian born wife Anca Neacsu were named suspects in this scandal. Abhishek had played the role of a middleman in the deal and had interfaced with the politicians in securing CCS clearance from the Cabinet Committee.
  5. 5. Part of the bribes from AgustaWestland was sent to Abhishek's companies Atlas Defence Systems accounts in Mauritius, to Bermuda accounts of Atlas Group Ltd and the other part was diverted to his wife's front company in New York Ganton Limited. These funds are suspected to have been sent to Indian politicians who were beneficiaries in this scandal. In September 2015, a special CBI court issued an open non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Christian Michel based on a CBI report that he was needed to be questioned in the case to know how much amount he had received as "commission" in the deal. The CBI said that "Based on this arrest warrant, Interpol India would be requested to issue a Red Corner Notice against Christian Michel James and execute said warrant." In an interview to a newspaper, he denied any wrongdoing by stating that he had never met any "Gandhi" in his life.
  6. 6. Enforcement Directorate (ED) is investigating money laundering allegations. In March 2015, the ED traced and identified the properties worth around ₹1.12 crore owned by Christian Michel and issued a provisional attachment order. The ED claimed that Michel bought a flat in south Delhi's Safdarjung Enclave in the name of media firm Media Exim using the bribe money. He was also reportedly in possession of a luxury car and a Fixed Deposit of ₹54 lakh. In September 2015, the adjudicating authority confirmed the attachment of properties and allowed the agency to retain the properties.In September 2015, the ED attached assets worth about ₹7 crore alleged to be in the name of family members of ex-IAF Chief S. P. Tyagi. The CBI and the ED have sent letters rogatory to as many as eight countries including Italy, Tunisia, Mauritius, the UAE, the UK, Switzerland, Singapore and the British Virgin Islands.
  7. 7. India cancelled the ₹3,600 crore deal with AgustaWestland in January 2014. The government cancelled the contract "on grounds of breach of the Pre-contract Integrity Pact and the agreement by AWIL (AgustaWestland International Ltd)". The contract was frozen in February 2013 after allegations surfaced that Rs 3,600 crore was paid as a bribe. Cancellation of the contract by the Indian Government
  8. 8. Decision-Makers Senior officials involved in the decision-making process that led to the selection of the AgustaWestland helicopters for VIP use were M. K. Narayanan( Indian Police Service (IPS), former Director Intelligence Bureau (India) and NSA); B V Wanchoo, (IPS, and Chief of Special Protection Group) and Shashi Kant Sharma, IAS, and former defence secretary. After their tenures at the centre, the UPA Government made M.K. Narayanan governor of West Bengal, B.V. Wanchoo governor of Goa and Shashikant Sharma Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
  9. 9. CBI Probe The CBI approached Union Law Ministry to record statements of M. K. Narayanan and B. V. Wanchoo in January 2014. M.K Narayanan and B. V. Wanchoo were West Bengal and Goa Governors respectively at the time of CBI's request. Their statements were considered vital as they were National Security Adviser and SPG chief at the time of the signing of the contract with AgustaWestland. Their views were also considered before the Indian Government signed the contract with AgustaWestland. However, Kapil Sibal's Union Law ministry stonewalled the CBI probe by rejecting CBI's request to examine them under the usual excuse of "immunity." The CBI, therefore, approached President Pranab Mukherjee to seek permission to examine ex- NSA and ex-SPG. M. K. Narayanan and B. V. Wanchoo were questioned by CBI later in June and July 2014 respectively. EscrowTech India Private Limited
  10. 10. Recovery of Bank Guarantee After the cancellation of the contract, India encashed over ₹250 crore made by AgustaWestland as a bank guarantee in the Indian banks in January 201. Separately, India requested the Italian government to retrieve the bank guarantee amount made by the firm in Italian banks which was more than €275 million (₹2,364 crore). On 17 March 2014, a request made by India was rejected by an Italian court. However, the appellate court in Milan reversed the lower court's judgement and upheld the claims of the Indian government. Accordingly, in June 2014, the Indian government encashed ₹1,818 crore, taking the total amount recovered so far to ₹2,068 crore. With this, India has recovered the entire amount of around ₹1,620 crore (45% of the total contract value ₹3,600 crore) it had paid to AgustaWestland. EscrowTech India Private Limited
  11. 11. Acquittals by Italian Court The Italian court, investigating the case in October 2014, acquitted ex-IAF Chief S.P. Tyagi of all corruption charges. It also acquitted the former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and former AgustaWestland head Bruno Spagnolini of “charges of international corruption.” The court, however, convicted and sentenced them to two years in prison on the lesser charge of “false invoicing” in the case. On 8 April 2016, the Milan Court of Appeal, in a 225 page judgement, overturned the lower court verdict and sentenced Giuseppe Orsi to four years' imprisonment. EscrowTech India Private Limited
  12. 12. CONCLUSION It has been proved in the court of law that bribe was involved, rules were broken and bent to suit AugustaWestland. UPA ministers along with middlemen, servicemen and bureaucrats were involved in this mega scam. Indian agencies are gathering evidence from foreign countries and all other sources. It is a technical and time consuming process. The current focus of investigating agencies is to find the evidence to pin the bribe takers. The current government of NDA is happily maximizing the political benefits and building further pressure on Congress due to the revelations of scams, one after another. EscrowTech India Private Limited
  13. 13. THANK YOU EscrowTech India Private Limited