AgustaWestland replies to Govt notice, chopper deal fate to be clear in next few days

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 22 2013, 05:57am hrs
AgustaWestland, which is facing allegations of paying kickbacks to secure VVIP choppers deal, today replied to the Indian show cause notice for cancelling the contract saying it has not indulged in any wrong practice.

The Defence Ministry, which had given the firm time till today to reply to the show cause asking why the contract should not be cancelled in view of the bribery charges faced by it, will take a decision on the future of the Rs 3,600-crore deal in the next few days, Ministry officials said.

They said they will go through the response given by the Italian firm along with the evidence brought by the one- member

Ministry team from Italy and take a decision on the future of

the deal in the next few days. "We have responded to the show cause issued to us by the Indian government within the specified timeframe. We have told the Indian Defence Ministry that our conduct has met the legal requirements in India and there was no wrongdoing involved in it," an AgustaWestland spokesperson told PTI from Italy.

In its response, the firm has told the Defence Ministry that "its conduct has been fully compliant with the rules which regulate the AW101 helicopters contract signed with India".

AgustaWestland has said the Rs 3,600 crore contract "was awarded to it following a comprehensive technical and flight evaluation of competing types performed by the IAF in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)."

On February 15, Indian Defence Ministry had issued show cause notice initiating the process to cancel the deal in which allegedly kickbacks of Rs 362 crore were paid to swing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland.

The step was taken by India after the arrest of Italian firm Finmeccanica's CEO Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO

Bruno Spagnolini by Italian investigators looking into the bribery charges.

The Italian firm has also provided information to Indian authorities including a joint team of CBI and a Defence

Ministry official, who had gone to Italy to get evidence about the scam.