Mumbai: As Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland faced bribery allegations in the VVIP chopper deal, British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday said this was a matter between Indian and Italian authorities.
     
Cameron, who is on a three-day visit to India designed to underpin Indo-British trade links, also said that AgustaWestland was an "excellent company". The helicopters are manufactured at Yeovil in Somerset in England.
     
"This is really a question between the Italian authorities--because it is Finmeccanica, an Italian company, which owns AgustaWestland--and the Indian authorities," Cameron told the BBC here when asked about the alleged kickbacks.
     
Kickbacks to the tune of Rs 360 crore was allegedly paid to bag the Rs 3,600 crore deal for supply of 12 VVIP choppers to India. India has since taken steps to cancel the contract.
     
Cameron, who is due to hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Tuesday, also said that it was for the UK's Serious Fraud Office itself to decide whether to look into the bribery claims.
     
"That is a matter for them. We have totally independent investigating and prosecuting authorities in the UK, and they are at liberty to act or not, and are not directed by ministers," the prime minister said.
      
"Britain has, in our anti-bribery laws, some of the toughest laws in the world, so people know if they do business with British companies, that they have those protections.
      
"What I am saying to people here is that AgustaWestland is an excellent company, with highly skilled workers who make brilliant helicopters," he added.

(Agencies)

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