Millennium Post
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‘Middleman Haschke cleaned up documents’

Alleged middleman Guido Haschke had ‘cleaned up’ all the documents from his computer related to the VVIP chopper deal mired in allegations of kickbacks, it was revealed on Sunday, as an Indian team was set to leave for Italy tomorrow to gather evidence in the bribery case.

But to Haschke's misfortune the documents were retrieved from his computer hard drive along with other papers he had hidden at his mother's home.

According to reports in the Italian media, the investigators termed the information found in his computer drives as a ‘Pandora's box’ where he has noted details of his appointments, his meetings with Indian intermediaries, in Italy and Lugano and several international transactions including that of Finmeccanica.

These documents are being used by the prosecutors in the Italian court Tribunale de Busto Arsizio to build their case in fixing responsibilties of several accused including former Finmeccanica chief Giuseppe Orsi for allegedly paying Rs 360 crore in kickbacks to bag the Rs 3,600 crore deal, reports in Italian daily Republica suggested.

‘He thought he had deleted everything, buried every track on the big business on behalf of Finmeccanica. He had 'cleaned up' all his computer and he felt calm,’ the daily said quoting the Italian investigators' report. It said the prosecutors in the court Busto Arsizio recovered the ‘computer hard drives of Haschke where the intermediary had recorded the whole story about the sale of helicopters and other business’.

‘Documents and files that are now on the table of the Prosecutor of Busto Arsizio, Eugenio Fusco, who is trying to rebuild any responsibilities and roles of the protagonists of this 'affair',’ it said.

The report said the ‘fate of Orsi is entrusted to its reading of the documents found in a suitcase that Haschke had hidden in his mother's house and found those files in his computer that he thought he had cleared and reset.’

Haschke is alleged to have been appointed by former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi, who has been arrested, for clinching the deal for AgustaWestland in which 51 million euros were allegedly paid as kickbacks. Orsi has denied any kind of involvement in paying bribes for bagging the deal.

A team of CBI and Defence Ministry officials is leaving for Italy tomorrow to verify allegations of kickbacks.

Official sources said the team comprises a CBI DIG, a law officer of the agency, a Joint Secretary - level officer of Defence Ministry and an official of the External Affairs Ministry.

The team’s departure was delayed by a day due to some last-minute formalities which required to be fulfilled before travelling abroad for the purpose of investigation, they said, adding the team would try to meet Italian prosecutors to ascertain the details of the case.


BUDGET SESSION THREATENS TO BE TUMULTOUS


With the Opposition poised to attack the government on a host of issues including the VVIP chopper deal, the three-month long Budget Session of Parliament beginning this week is expected to be a tumultous affair. The Left and the Right have been aggressive on a number of issues including the chopper deal and ‘the plate is full’ as an Opposition leader put it. The other issues include corruption and inflation. Central trade unions, including Congress-affiliated INTUC, have given a strike call on 20-21 February on the government’s ‘inaction’ on the issue of price rise and alleged violation of labour laws. The Opposition is also expected to raise matters like safety of women, killing of Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops on the LoC, increase in prices of diesel and petrol, hike in rail fare, the issue of separate Telangana and the alleged farm loan waiver scam.
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