Graft in Chop­per Deal Proven: Ital­ian Court

Court says cash, Mau­ri­tius bank money went to ex-IAF chief; Tyagi says he wants to see trans­lated court pa­pers be­fore com­ment­ing BJP Wants De­bate on Agusta Deal

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Manu.Pubby@ times­group.com

New Delhi: An Ital­ian court said there was “rea­son­able be­lief that cor­rup­tion took place” in the 2010 VVIP he­li­copter deal and that for­mer In­dian Air Force chief SP Tyagi was in­volved. The court said it was “validly proven” that a part of $10-15 mil­lion in il­licit funds made their way to In­dian of­fi­cials.

The 225-page judge­ment by the Mi­lan Court of Ap­peals, ac­cessed by ET, has a sep­a­rate 17-page chap­ter on Tyagi that ex­plained the grounds on which it came to the con­clu­sion on the cor­rup­tion of the “In­dian pub­lic of­fi­cer”.

“The des­ti­na­tion — at least par­tial — of the il­licit fund­ing to the pay­ment of the price of cor­rup­tion of Mar­shal Shashi Tyagi for his in­ter­ven­tion in favour of Agus­taWest­land for the VVIP he­li­copters com­pe­ti­tion is validly proven,” the court ob­served. The text was trans­lated from the orig­i­nal Ital­ian.

Tyagi did not re­spond to a de­tailed ques­tion­naire sent by ET. “We should wait to read the full trans­lated doc­u­ment be­fore re­act­ing,” he said. The for­mer air chief has al­ways main­tained his in­no­cence in the case. Court said it was that a part of

$10-15 mil­lion

in il­licit funds made their way to In­dian of­fi­cials

There has been a marked slow­down in GMV as com­pa­nies cut down on dis­counts to build health­ier mar­gins and stronger bal­ance sheets. Money is prov­ing harder to come by, too, as in­vestors tighten purse strings and push the larger In­ter­net com­pa­nies to cut down on burn rates. The In­dian ecom­merce in­dus­try’s an­nu­alised GMV run-rate plunged to about $15 bil­lion (about Rs1lakh crore) in March from about $20 bil­lion in Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to data col­lated by RedSeer Con­sult­ing, an emerg­ing mar­kets­fo­cussed re­search and ad­vi­sory firm. The New Delhi-head­quar­tered Snapdeal recorded GMV of $4 bil­lion in Au­gust, when Bahl said in an in­ter­view to ET that he was “very, very clear (that)... we’re go­ing to be No. 1 by March 2016. I think we’re go­ing to beat Flip­kart by then”.

Snapdeal, which counts Ja­pan’s Soft­Bank, China’s Alibaba and Tai­wan’s Fox­conn as in­vestors, would have had to at least dou­ble its GMV to achieve that, given that Flip­kart had de­clared in June that it was aim­ing for GMV of $10-12 bil­lion in 9 months to a year. Flip­kart had achieved gross sales of $4 bil­lion in 2014-15.

Bahl’s lat­est as­ser­tion makes Snapdeal the first big consumer In­ter­net com­pany to pub­licly de­nounce the con­tro­ver­sial met­ric that is be­ing blamed for In­dian ecom­merce’s present trou­bles from un­fet­tered growth. Sev­eral in­vestors have al­ready given up on GMV as their pri­mary met­ric and are in­stead en­cour­ag­ing com­pa­nies to fo­cus on strength­en­ing busi­ness fun­da­men­tals and max­imis­ing rev­enue per user. “GMV is in a way an old school of thought, be­cause it was the eas­i­est met­ric to un­der­stand,” said Sreed­har Prasad, part­ner, ecom­merce and star­tups, at au­dit firm KPMG.

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