CBI preparing letter rogatory in chopper case

New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) The CBI is preparing letters rogatory as part of its probe into the alleged kickbacks in the VVIP helicopter deal with Augusta Westland, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Wednesday.

The government has received an initial set of documents from Italy in the case, he said.

He informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply that his ministry has received an initial set of documents from Italy which include a copy of the search and seizure order issued by a judge in Busto Arsizio.

The ministry has also received copies of certain contracts entered by a shareholder company of Agusta Westland International Limited, UK, with various entities in Tunisia and India.

“Letter rogatories to various countries are under preparation by the Central Bureau of Investigation,” he said.

Letters rogatory is a formal communication in writing sent by the court to a foreign court requesting that testimony of a witness residing within its jurisdiction may be formally taken and transmitted to the issuing court.

Antony said the ministry had sent a joint team of defence ministry and ministry of external affairs to Italy.

Answering another query, he said a decision for cancelling the contract will depend on the outcome of the CBI investigation.

The defence ministry had signed a contract with Britain-based Agusta Westland in February 2010 for procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters.

The CBI has registered a case against 19 people, including six companies to probe the alleged kickbacks in the deal.

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