Chopper deal: India presses Italy envoy for middleman info

New Delhi, Nov 1: With Italy sitting on New Delhi’s request for information about alleged middlemen in a chopper deal, the external affairs ministry called the its envoy here to demand a prompt response.

M. Ganapathi, secretary (west) in the external affairs ministry, handed over an aide-memoire (informal diplomatic message) to the ambassador “underlining the importance of responding to the inquiry”, spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters here.

India’s ambassador to Italy also took up the issue with Italian authorities Oct 29.

“Both in Delhi and Rome they understand our concern and promised to revert to us. We look forward to it,” said the spokesperson.

Three Indians are among 15 people that Italian police are probing in connection with suspected payment of bribes and money-laundering in a deal for VVIP helicopters signed in 2010.

The reports said that among the three Indians was Sanjeev Kumar Tyagi, a Delhi businessman.

AgustaWestland is a subsidiary of the Italian defence major Finmeccanica.

Following media reports, Defence Minister A.K. Antony ordered a probe and asked officials to obtain details of the chopper deal from Italy.

IANS