SC seeks Centre’s reply on PIL for FIR against Congress leaders

VVIPNEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today sought responses from the Centre and the CBI on a plea seeking registration of an FIR against some political leaders and others whose names have allegedly been referred to in an Italian court’s verdict in AgustaWestland chopper case.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh issued notice on the PIL filed by advocate M L Sharma in which he has also sought a court-monitored probe in the case.

The PIL, which was filed last week had sought lodging of FIR against political leaders, including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose names have allegedly been referred to in the Italian court’s judgment.

CBI had in 2013 registered a case in connection with alleged bribes paid by the firm to Indians to clinch the deal for 12 helicopters to ferry VVIPs including the President and Prime Minister.

The plea, which has made Ministry of Defense and CBI as parties, has sought registration the FIR against persons whose names have figured in the judgment delivered by the Italian court in Milan on April 7, 2016.

It has sought a court-monitored SIT or CVC probe and has also raised legal questions including as to whether decision of the Italian court is “not enough” to prosecute.
The plea said the probe began in Italy in 2011 into the allegation that AgustaWestland paid a commission of Euro 51 million (over Rs 350 crore) to Switzerland-based consultant Guido Ralph Haschke to facilitate the deal.

“The scope of the Italian probe will end at the point where the alleged commission money reaches India. The probe will not go into who was paid the money in the Indian establishment or how the funds were worked around within the power circles of New Delhi,” it said.

“That action has been taken in Italy on the VVIP helicopter scam. The CEO of the company has been arrested. But no action has been taken here. The country which would have benefited from the deal has taken action while the country which lost money has not done anything,” it said, adding that the petitioner is apprehending that the case may meet the fate of Bofors scandal.–PTI

Tags: