India will look for ways to become 'a party' in Italy case
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With Italian authorities refusing to share details of their probe into the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, the CBI-Defence Ministry team in Italy will explore legal ways to become "a party" in the Finmeccanica trial before the Italian court, which would then ensure access to all documents and investigation reports.
The Italian court had earlier informed the Indian embassy that access to the probe documents is only available to the accused, prosecution and lawyers concerned. Officials said since there is "insufficient evidence" to register a case or a preliminary enquiry, the team, which is scheduled to arrive in Milan on Tuesday, will meet Italian lawyers to explore ways to become "a party" in the case. They are also learnt to have sought an appointment with the prosecutors in the case.
As per the integrity pact signed by AgustaWestland in October 2008, the Indian authorities are "entitled to examine the books of accounts" in case there is a violation by the firm. "It is also to be noted that the integrity clause is valid for five years. This will help the investigators pressure Italian authorities and AgustaWestland to furnish the information," said a senior official.
On February 13, soon after the arrest of Finmeccanica's then CEO Giuseppe Orsi, the Indian embassy had sought details of the probe. But the Italian court had ruled that since "the investigations are covered under the articles of secrecy, they cannot share the details". The court said that "only parties, which means accused, prosecution and their lawyers, have access to the court diaries", as per an official familiar with the case.
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