Published on July 18, 2022 at 16:50 IST
The Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged that former Finmeccanica chief executive Giuseppe Orsi was trying to “thwart” further legal proceedings in the alleged ₹3,600 crore VVIP helicopter purchase scam.
In a response to Orsi’s petition challenging the special CBI Court’s jurisdiction to try him in the case, the CBI alleged that Orsi was trying to “misuse the intricacies of law”.
Orsi, an Italian national, is a co-accused in the case filed by the CBI. The Indian Air Force had struck a deal to buy helicopters from AgustaWestland, which was a UK subsidiary of Finmeccanica (now renamed Leonardo), during the UPA regime.
In his petition Orsi sought suspension of proceedings saying that the summons served to him by the agency were “unlawful”.
Raising the plea of double jeopardy, Orsi submitted that in any event, no offence was made out against him since he already was acquitted by an Italian court in 2018.
Seeking dismissal of his petition, the CBI said Orsi had been participating in the court proceedings through his lawyers from December 18, 2019 and “has only now chosen to prefer an application for vague and ambiguous reliefs, when the matter is being progressed expeditiously”.
Responding to the plea of double jeopardy, the CBI said that argument “is liable to be discarded in line with the internationally recognised principle of dual sovereignty, which provides for separate prosecutions for an offence punishable under separate sovereigns”.
The agency alleged that Orsi’s plea was only to “delay and derail the proceedings” before the special CBI court. The agency said the service of summons upon Orsi is “complete”.
“Issuance of summons is for the purpose of notifying the person of his legal obligation to appear before the court as a response to violation of law and the said criteria is duly satisfied in the instant case,” it said.
The agency submitted that it was not that Orsi never received summons of the special CBI court or was unaware of the criminal proceedings against him. Elaborating, it added that “on becoming aware of the proceedings”, Orsi authorised his lawyers for his representation, and they have been appearing on his behalf from December 18, 2019.
The documents relied upon by the prosecution have been provided to Orsi and he is fully aware of the case against him, it said.
He “continues to actively participate” in the court proceedings and, unlike his co-accused, has not moved any application seeking discharge from the case, the agency said.
“In terms with principles of equity and keeping in mind his conduct, Orsi cannot be allowed to violate the basic principles of right and good conscience,” it said.
ET reported on April 29 that the CBI had claimed that the names of highly placed individuals and bureaucrats had surfaced during its investigation into the helicopter scandal.
However, these individuals could not be prosecuted so far on account of lack of “sufficient prosecutable evidence”, in the absence of full execution of letters rogatory sent to foreign shores seeking information, the CBI had said in a supplementary charge sheet filed in the case, ET had reported, citing people in the know.