Finmeccanica likely to be blacklisted over helicopter scam, cacncel $750 mn deal says India
Italian police arrested Finmeccanica's chief executive Giuseppe Orsi on Tuesday for alleged bribes paid to secure the sale of 12 AgustaWestland executive helicopters to the Indian Air Force, when he was head of the Finmeccanica helicopter unit. Orsi's lawyer denied the allegations.
The former head of India's Air Force, S.P. "Shashi" Tyagi, and three of his cousins are among the Indians named in the arrest warrant for Orsi. All say they are innocent.
Defence Minister A. K. Antony said he had ordered India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the purchase of the luxury helicopters destined for use by India's political leadership. He said that if the allegations are proven to be true, the company would be blacklisted and those involved punished.
"If any individual or foreigner, any firm are involved in this malpractice, nobody will be spared. We will take action against them, whatever may be the consequences," he told reporters on Wednesday. Three helicopters have already been delivered.
Coming at a time of cuts in defence procurement spending, the latest scandal could lead to additional scrutiny and delays for defence deals in the works.
"I am sure that there will be initial setback, but we will overcome that. That is not the main thing. The main thing is that we cannot allow corruption in defence deals,"
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