AgustaWestland Case: No Summons to 33 out of 80 Accused Yet (excerpt)
(Source: Economic Times; published Dec 17, 2021)
By Raghav Ohri
Nearly eight years after a probe was ordered into the alleged irregularities in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal and a dozen chargesheets later, filed both by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the trial in the infamous AgustaWestland scandal is yet to commence.

A criminal case was registered by the CBI on March 12, 2013, against several accused, including the then Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi. The ED launched a probe on the money laundering charges on July 3, 2014.

ET looks at the status of the investigations by the two agencies, the roadblocks in the trial and the developments to look out for.

Nearly half of the accused yet to be served summons. The total number of accused booked by the CBI and ED combined are 80. Of these, nearly 33 accused are yet to be served summons, reveal documents examined by ET. Some of the accused are residing abroad.

ED cases

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) till date has booked 53 persons on charges of money laundering under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Nearly 24 are yet to be served summons.

Extradition proceedings are pending against Gerosa Carlo Valentino Fernando and Guido Ralph Haschke, alleged middlemen in the VVIP chopper scandal.

Summons sent through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to M/s Cricklewood Ltd are still awaited. However, ED has maintained that the said company has been served through Gerosa Carlo Valentino Fernando, an alleged middleman. Similarly, a report of summons sent through MHA to ‘Long Lasting Ltd’ is still awaited.

The CBI, however, has maintained that the company has been served through co-accused Guido Ralph Haschke.

CBI cases

Of the total 27 accused, nine are yet to be served summons. Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spangnolini, former officials of Finmeccanica, filed applications seeking exemption from personal appearance.

In one of their applications, the duo (aged 73 and 68 respectively) have cited old age and the pandemic as the reasons to not appear in person. Significantly, their counsels have maintained before court that the duo have “not been served legally”. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Economic Times website.

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