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Chopper deal: Two-member CBI team to go to Italy

 NEW DELHI, Feb 16 (IANS): A two-member team of the CBI has been set up to go to Italy for probing the alleged kickbacks paid by Italian firm Finmeccanica to clinch the $750 million/ Rs.3,600 crore deal for 12 VVIP helicopters, an official said.

"The team will have a senior Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer and a law officer. They are likely to go to Italy within a week," an agency official told IANS.

The agency had received some documents pertaining to the case from the defence ministry Friday but was yet to register preliminary enquiry because it had to confirm the allegations of graft against Indian nationals and alleged kickbacks paid by the Italian firm, said CBI sources.

A CBI official Friday said that in view with the gravity of the case, the agency needs some more ground work for which a team plans to go to Italy.

The CBI team had Thursday asked ministry officials to provide its files related to any sort of internal enquiry undertaken by it in connection with alleged corruption in the February 2010 deal to acquire 12 AW-101 helicopters from Finmeccanica's subsidiary AgustaWestland.

The helicopters were for IAF's elite Communication Squadron, which ferries the president, the prime minister and other VVIPs, they said.

On Monday, Italian agencies had arrested Finmeccanica chief executive officer (CEO) Giuseppe Orsi for alleged corruption to seal the deal.

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