New Delhi: 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, we would respond to any request for information," Cameron said at a joint press conference here 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.

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".

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

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 USD 750 million (Rs.3,600 crore) chopper 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.

PM expresses serious concerns

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Cameron read out statements at a joint press meet without taking any questions.

Giving details of his discussions, Singh said "I conveyed to Prime Minister Cameron our very serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for Agusta Westland helicopters.”

"I told him that we have sought an explanation from the company by February 22 to examine if the contractual provisions on unethical practices and the Integrity Pact have been violated. I have sought full assistance from the UK in this case. Prime Minister Cameron has assured me of the cooperation of his Government in the investigations."


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