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RAKESH ASTHANAIn a move to expedite probe of some high-profile cases, CBI Thursday formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by an Additional Director which will exclusively investigate important cases like VVIP chopper scam and alleged loan fraud by beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya.

Official sources said the SIT will be headed by Additional Director Rakesh Asthana, a 1984 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, who headed the state SIT that went into the burning of Sabarmati Express train at Godhra in February 2002. He was also associated with the Fodder Scam probe.

According to the sources, the SIT will initially look into the cases like the VVIP chopper scam and alleged bank loan fraud by Mallya.

The probe into the chopper scam after conviction of former heads of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland by an Italian court changed “the understanding” of the investigating agency regarding the Rs 3,600 deal which was allegedly clinched after bribing some Indians, the sources said.

The sources said the judgement by the Milan Court of Appeals has “made it clear” that bribes were paid by UK-based AgustaWestland, a sister concern of Italy’s Finmeccanica.

The SIT will now probe who were the beneficiaries of the kickbacks and ascertain the chain of fund flow. Responses to Letters Rogatory sent in this regard are awaited.

Another case the SIT would probe relates to alleged diversion of loans of thousands of crores of rupees taken by Kingfisher Airlines to their foreign accounts.