Rs 350 crore AgustaWestland transaction, 5 lakh transactions of Mallya under SIT scanner

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Chasing a money trail of Rs 350 crore in the AgustaWestland case and scrutinising 5 lakh transactions made in connection with the Vijay Mallya case are the top priorities for the Special Investigation Team of the Central Bureau of Investigation. An SIT had been set up to probe the two cases as it required a dedicated team considering a major money trail and also the fact that both probes required dealing with international agencies.

The SIT which will be headed by Rakesh Asthana has its task cut out. In both these investigations it is absolutely crucial to find the exact money trail. Mere allegations regarding bribe takers or laundering will not help the investigation. It is absolutely important to find the exact money trail if a conviction is to be secured in a court of law.

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Kickbacks to laundering:

The specific brief for the SIT would be to probe into the money trail regarding the AgustaWestland deal. The SIT would take this case forward based on the findings of the Italian investigators who had established that a bribe of Rs 350 crore had been paid.

For the SIT, the job now would be to establish the money trail. The entire amount of Rs 350 crore had come into India from various countries. Each penny was paid to the high and mighty who helped swing the chopper deal in favour of AgustaWestland. The probe would begin with how and where the money came in from to whom it was given to. If this trail is established then the case would be a water tight one, the CBI says. The CBI has already sent out Letters Rogatorys to Switzerland, United Kingdom, UAE, Mauritius, Singapore, British Virgin Islands and Tunisia. So far only Italy has been responsive.

The SIT which will also probe into the Mallya case has decided to expand its ambit. The probe by the CBI which initially began with the scrutiny of just one bank loan default case has now expanded its ambit. The SIT apart from probing the Rs 900 bank default case relating to the IDBI bank would now scrutinise nearly 5 lakh transactions allegedly made. This is a case relating to money laundering and hence the 5 lakh odd transactions become extremely important to scrutinise.

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