VVIP chopper deal: Agusta Westland granted more time to give its response

March 14, 2013 08:53 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 04:36 am IST - New Delhi

The Defence Ministry has granted Italian firm Agusta Westland extension of deadline by seven days to explain its links with the software companies that were allegedly used to pay kickbacks in the Rs. 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal.

The Ministry had asked the firm last week to provide details about its transactions with Tunisia and India-based firms IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix.

The Italian firm had sought a week’s extension to explain its linkages with the two firms and the request has been granted by the Defence Ministry. Agusta Westland has been asked to furnish their clear replies within this stipulated time, highly-placed sources told PTI here.

Both Aeromatrix and IDS Infotech are based in Chandigarh and are being investigated by the CBI along with former air chief SP Tyagi and three of his cousins for allegedly ensuring that Agusta Westland won the Rs. 3,600-crore deal from India.

A show cause notice was issued by the Defence Ministry to Agusta Westland 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 its response.

The Defence Minister has ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of kickbacks to the tune of Rs. 362 crore after the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and Agusta Westland CEO Bruno Spagnolini by Italian investigators in connection with the case.

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