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Another Blow to CBI? Italian court acquits Guiseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini In Chopper Scam

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| January 8 , 2018 , 20:44 IST

An Italian court on Monday acquitted Bruno Spagnolini, former head of helicopter company AgustaWestland and Giuseppe Orsi, the head of AgustaWestland’s parent company Finmeccanica, in the bribery case related to the 2010 chopper deal with the government of India.

“There isn’t sufficient proof” to convict the accused of corruption, the court said.

India got into an agreement in 2010 to buy 12 helicopters from the Italian firm. The deal was put on hold after Italian authorities arrested Orsi in 2013.

The Milan Court of Appeals had earlier sentenced Orsi and Spagnolini to four-and-a-half years and four years of jail terms respectively in April 2016 for false accounting and corruption in the deal for 12 VVIP choppers. However Italy’s top court ordered a retrial of the case in December 2016.

The retrial finally led to their acquittal on Monday. This order will come as a setback for India’s Central Bureau of Investigation that named Spagnolini and Orsi along with retired Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi, former Air Marshal J.S. Gujral and 10 other in its chargesheet filed last year.

CBI claimed that SP Tyagi conspired to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres, which the Air Force had opposed before because of security concerns, so that AgustaWestland qualified for submitting bids for the deal.

Rahul Abrol

Now that the Italian court has given a verdict that says no bribes were paid, why would the CBI continue to run its charade of hounding ACM SP Tyagi. They are clearly running someone else's agenda and concerned with 2019 rather than justice. The CBI and the Government of India were a party to the case in Italy and their lawyers were also arguing for the prosecution in their court. That case is now dismissed and the CBI has lost. But why let such small things come in the way of the caged parrot singing the tune of its political masters? Why let the honour and prestige of a good soldier who served India survive when elections have to be won and political points scored? Instead of hounding Tyagi, we owe him an apology as a nation but that will never happen while we are ruled by goons who care for elections more than for justice or honour.