Defence Minister sets final deadline of Nov 26 for Agusta to reply

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 11 November 2013, 11:02 PM

The Defence Ministry on Monday asked AgustaWestland to reply by November 26 to its final show cause notice for cancellation of its Rs 3,600 crore contract to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the Air Force.

The ministry has also asked the company to present its case before it on November 20, officials said. 

The meeting would be held between the officials of the ministry and the representatives of the company. Defence Minister AK Antony would not be present during the meeting, they said. 

The ministry has made it clear that no further time extension will be given to the firm for replying. 

A show cause notice was issued to the firm by the Ministry on October 21 seeking a reply in 21 days by November 11 after which Agusta sought a meeting with the firm and more time to reply to the notice. 

The Ministry asked it to explain why "all or any action as prescribed, including cancellation of the contract, should not be taken against them for violating the terms of the pre-integrity pact and the contract for procurement of 12 VVIP choppers".

In the past, Defence Ministry has refused to hold any meeting with the company officials despite several requests from it. 

Antony has already stated that the firm has violated the contract and government has initiated a process to take action in this regard. 

The government has already frozen the contract for supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF after allegations that Rs 360 crore were paid as bribe in the case in which two top officials of the company were accused. 

The Defence Ministry first issued a show cause notice to AgustaWestland on February 15 asking it to explain within seven days the bribery allegations against it after the alleged scam was exposed in February. 

In its reply, AgustaWestland had denied the allegations. Former IAF chief S P Tyagi is among those under cloud in connection with the kickback charges. 

First Published: Monday, November 11, 2013 11:01 PM
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