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Britain assures help in VVIP chopper deal probe

Britain assures help in VVIP chopper deal probe

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said his government would "respond to any request" for information in the VVIP chopper deal probe, involving British company AgustaWestland.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron after a meeting in New Delhi on February 19. PHOTO: AP Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron after a meeting in New Delhi on February 19. PHOTO: AP
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday said his government would "respond to any request" for information on the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

"In terms of AgustaWestland, as the prime minister said, we would respond to any request for information," Cameron said at a joint press conference in New Delhi with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"I am glad the Italian authorities are looking into this issue in detail as Finmeccanica is an Italian company, the parent company of AgustaWestland," he said.

The chopper deal controversy started after Italian agencies arrested Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi for suspected corruption to seal the deal.

The defence ministry last week initiated action for cancellation of the contract for buying 12 AgustaWestland choppers for VVIP use by the Indian Air Force.

It also issued a formal show-cause notice to AgustaWestland to explain within a week why the contract should not be cancelled.

Cameron said Britain has tough anti-bribery laws and anyone guilty would be punished.

"We are extremely clear in Britain. We have introduced anti-bribery legislation, the strongest anywhere in the world," he said, adding that his government would deal with "any problem of bribery or corruption wherever they appear and whenever they appear".

A team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and defence ministry officials left for Italy on Monday to get more information on the alleged kickbacks in the $750 million (Rs 3,600 crore) chopper deal.