New Delhi, Apr 11: The Defence Ministry has asked the CBI to investigate the charges that a Brigadier had sought a bribe of Rs 25 crore from AgustaWestland to help it bag the deal for supplying 197 light choppers.
The allegations against the Brigadier surfaced during investigations into the VVIP chopper deal about the alleged involvement of Finmeccanica in paying kickbacks to secure the Indian contract for 12 VVIP choppers.
The Army has requested Defence Ministry to investigate the charges against the Brigadier before taking any decision on the future developments in the deal.
“We have ordered a CBI probe the charges that the Brigadier had sought bribes from the agencts of AgustaWestland in the 197 choppers procurement case,” Defence Ministry officials said here.
Allegations have been levelled against the Brigadier, who is presently posted in Chennai, in a letter allegedly sent by an AgustaWestland official in India to his superiors in Italy saying the officer was seeking USD 5 million for facilitating the deal in their favour.
Only two firms European Eurocopter and Russian Kamov are left in the race for the deal to supply 197 light choppers to the Army and the IAF as AgustaWestland was knocked out of the deal in the preliminary stages itself.
The deal for procuring 197 light choppers has already been cancelled once in 2007 in the last stages. The Brigadier has denied the charges made against him.