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Chopper scam: AgustaWestland to file response denying all charges

November 20, 2013 14:01 IST

Faced with the prospect of the nixing of its Rs 3,600 crore deal for the supply of 12 VVIP choppers, AgustaWestland today denied it had violated any contractual obligations in the pact for the same with IAF.

"AgustaWestland denies all allegations of violation of the pre-contract integrity pact and the contract.

"(We) will deliver the formal written response to the exceptions raised by the Indian Defence Ministry," the company said in a statement.

The statement follows Defence Minister AK Antony's assertion that the firm had violated contractual obligations, for which the government had initiated action against it.

The firm said it will today deliver the formal written response to the questions raised by defence ministry on its role in the alleged chopper scam.

There are allegations that over Rs 300 crore in kickbacks were paid to Indian agents for securing the deal in AgustaWestland's favour.

The Anglo-Italian firm has already been issued with the final show cause notice for cancellation of the deal and it as time till November 26 to reply to the same.

The show cause notice was issued by defence ministry on October 21 in which it had given 21 days, that is till November 11, to the firm to submit its response. But AgustaWestland had sought a meeting with the ministry and obtained 15 days' more time to reply to the notice.

In the notice, the ministry had asked AgustaWestland to explain why "all or any action as prescribed, including cancellation of the contract, should not be taken against them for violating the terms of the pre-integrity pact and the contract for procurement of 12 VVIP choppers".

In the past, Defence Ministry has refused to hold any meeting with company officials despite several requests for the same.

AgustaWestland has also initiated legal proceedings against the actions taken by the defence ministry.

The government has already frozen the contract for supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers following allegations of bribes in the case in which two top officials of the company are accused.

The defence ministry first issued a show cause notice to AgustaWestland on February 15 asking it to explain within seven days the bribery allegations against it after the alleged scam was exposed in earlier in that month.

In its reply to that notice, AgustaWestland had denied the allegations.

Former IAF chief SP Tyagi is among those under a cloud in connection with the kickback charges. 

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