There is “no question” of India getting involved in the arbitration process initiated by AgustaWestland in the chopper scam, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said making it clear that the government will not be drawn into a legal battle with the Anglo-Italian firm in the case.
Mr. Antony’s response came soon after the firm nominated former Supreme Court judge Justice B.N. Srikrishna for arbitration in the case where Defence Ministry has issued a show cause notice to it for cancelling its Rs. 3,600 deal with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
“There is no question. Our stand is clear that there is no issue of arbitration. We have already given them a show cause notice and they have not replied so far. Let them reply. We will take a decision after they reply,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
Facing threat of cancellation of its deal, AgustaWestland had invoked the arbitration clause in the contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Air Force and nominated retired Supreme Court Judge B.N. Srikrishna on its behalf on November 20.
A team of its officials had also met Defence Ministry officials to present its case in the chopper scam and denied any wrongdoing on its behalf.
The Defence Ministry has taken a stand against arbitration clause saying it does not apply to the pre-contract integrity pact which is signed by the Ministry with its vendors.
Mr. Antony has already asserted that the firm had violated contractual obligations, for which the government had initiated action against it.