New Delhi: Aiming to trace the money trail in VVIP chopper deal, a team of ED officials may soon travel to a few countries, including Singapore, and seek expediting the process of replies to its judicial requests issued in the case.
Officials said while the agency, along with CBI, has already issued a number of Letters Rogatory to a number of countries, investigators are eager to obtain quick information on funds and transactions made by individuals and entities involved in the Rs 3,600-crore deal for supplying a dozen AgustaWestland Aw-101 choppers to India for VVIP flying.
They said preparations are being made to send a team of Enforcement Directorate officials to a few of these countries, including Singapore, to “speed up” the entire process of legal
cooperation in matters of overseas criminal and financial investigations.
The agency has already issued follow-up requests on its Letters Rogatories (LRs) to at least ten countries in connection with the money laundering case it has registered to probe the deal.
Officials said while seven of the LRs (judicial requests) have been already dispatched, three have been sent recently.
The agency has obtained, from the courts, a total of ten LRs to countries like Tunisia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mauritius, Israel, Finland, Singapore and Denmark in order to obtain details about the financial transactions that have taken place in the case by the firms and individuals named in its charge sheet filed before a court here last year.
A court in Italy’s Milan recently sentenced Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica‘s former chief Giuseppe Orsi and the former CEO of the firm Bruno Spagnolini on corruption charges in the sale of these helicopters.
Apart from filing a charge sheet, ED has also attached assets worth Rs 11 crore belonging to the cousins of former IAF chief SP Tyagi and Italian national and alleged middleman in the case Christian Michel James.
Investigators are also on trail to apprehend James from his overseas location indicated to be either Dubai or the United Kingdom. Both CBI and ED have already notified him under Interpol’s Red Corner Notice for arrest.
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