|Detectives raid home of ex Indian air force chief
Detectives raided the home of India's former air force chief today as part of an investigation into alleged bribes paid to secure a US$748 million contract for 12 Italian helicopters.
A Central Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman said former air chief marshal S P Tyagi's home was among 13 addresses targeted in the raids, AFP reports.
The First Information Report filed today represents the first stage of an official police enquiry. The CBI had filed a preliminary report last month into the alleged scandal, then linking four companies, four Westerners and seven Indians to the bribery allegations.
India put payments to the Italian company Finmeccanica on hold last month and threatened punitive action against the firm if any wrongdoing was uncovered.
The Indian government also agreed to set up a joint parliamentary commission which would include opposition lawmakers to probe charges that bribes were paid to swing the deal in favour of Finmeccanica's British unit AgustaWestland.
The helicopter purchase came under scrutiny from Italian investigators looking into allegations the group had broken the law by paying bribes to foreign officials, leading to the arrest of Finmeccanica's boss Giuseppe Orsi.
Orsi, who quit after his arrest, denies any wrongdoing.
Italian prosecutors suspect that kickbacks worth around 10 percent of the deal, or 50 million euros, were paid to Indian officials to ensure AgustaWestland won the contract, according to Italian media reports.
Cash was allegedly handed to a cousin of the former Indian air force chief with more money funnelled via a web of middlemen and companies in London, Switzerland, Tunisia and Mauritius.