India to cancel chopper deal with Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland?

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 19 November 2013, 07:00 PM

Facing the threat of cancellation of its Rs 3,600 crore deal for supplying VVIP choppers to the Air Force, AgustaWestland officials will present their case before the Defence Ministry in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The Anglo-Italian firm will present its case before officials of the rank of Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary of the Defence Ministry, who have been dealing with the case after the scandal broke out, Defence Ministry officials said.

Defence Minister A K Antony has already stated that the company has violated the contractual obligations but decided to give an opportunity to the firm after its requests.

The Anglo Italian firm has already been issued the final show cause notice for cancellation of the deal by the Ministry and it has to reply to it by November 26. The firm has also initiated legal proceedings on the actions taken by the Defence Ministry.

The 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.

In the notice, the Ministry asked the firm 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 had refused to hold any meeting with the company officials despite several requests from it.

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: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 06:58 PM
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