National

Defence Ministry asks AgustaWestland to explain linkages with 2 firms

The Defence Ministry has asked AgustaWestland to explain within one week its linkages with software companies allegedly used as a cover for paying kickbacks in the VVIP chopper deal.

In a fresh communication to the Anglo-Italian firm after rejecting its reply to the show cause notice, the Defence Ministry has asked AgustaWestkand to provide specific details about its transactions with Tunisia and India-based firms IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, sources said here.

The names of IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix have figured in the investigations by Italian authorities in the context of allegedly routing a portion of kickbacks of Rs 362 crore in the Rs 3,600 helicopter deal.

The firm has been given one week’s time to provide detailed answers to the clarifications sought by the Defence Ministry, they said.

A show cause notice was issued by the Defence Ministry to AgustaWestland last month as part of the process to cancel the contract for 12 VVIP choppers.

The Ministry had asked the firm why the deal should not be cancelled in view of corruption charges against it.

The firm had replied to the letter denying any wrongdoing in the deal but Defence Minister A.K. Antony rejected the response of the firm.

The Defence Minister has ordered a CBI probe into the allegations after the arrest of CEO of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini by Italian investigators in connection with the case.

The deal came under the scanner after the head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company that is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs 362 crore in India to get orders for the helicopters was arrested, prompting the government to order a CBI probe.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 10:56:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/defence-ministry-asks-agustawestland-to-explain-linkages-with-2-firms/article4485049.ece

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