India's defence ministry has referred the purchase of 12 AW101 helicopters from AgustaWestland to the country's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), after two senior executives were arrested on allegations of corruption.

Finmeccanica chairman and chief executive Giuseppe Orsi was on 12 February arrested by Italian police, while AgustaWestland chief executive Bruno Spagnolini was also reportedly placed under house arrest as investigations are made into allegations of bribery surrounding the purchase of the AW101s by India.

India's defence ministry says in a statement that it decided to refer the case to the CBI for inquiry after it sought more information from the UK and Italian governments following media reports of the arrest of the two men. "No specific inputs were, however, received substantiating the allegations," it adds.

The ministry says the contract signed with AgustaWestland included "specific contractual provisions against bribery and the use of undue influence as well as an integrity pact".

The €560 million ($753 million) acquisition was signed in February 2010, with the first aircraft due for delivery by the end of 2013.

Source: Flight International