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Rediff News  All News  » News » Replaced officer will continue to handle chopper case: DefMin

Replaced officer will continue to handle chopper case: DefMin

November 30, 2013 15:38 IST

A day after he was replaced as in-charge of the department handling the controversial AgustaWestland chopper deal, defence ministry on Saturday said Joint Secretary Upamanyu Chatterjee will continue to look after the case.

The ministry had on Friday decided to replace Chatterjee as joint secretary and acquisition manager (Air), in-charge of handling the chopper deal, which is facing cancellation in view of bribery allegations, and the multi-billion dollar 126 combat aircraft deal of the Air Force.

Joint Secretary Chatterjee will continue to look after the AgustaWestland chopper scam case but he will be replaced by Rajeev Verma in the office of joint secretary and acquisition manager (Air), defence ministry officials said.

Verma has recently joined the defence ministry as joint secretary (establishment).

As in-charge of the case, Chatterjee will soon be going to Italy for the hearing of the chopper scam case there.

Chatterjee, an IAS officer of 1983 batch, was given the charge recently after Arun Kumar Bal died of a heart attack while going for a walk.

The 1983-batch Maharashtra cadre officer has been involved in negotiations with the French Dassault Aviation for the Rafale combat aircraft deal and has handled the all-important AgustaWestland chopper deal, which is on the verge of being scrapped.

The office of the JS and AM (Air) is responsible for handling all acquisitions for the IAF and the procurement requests from other ministries for aerial equipment.

The officer reports to the director general (acquisition), who handles the capital budget of over Rs 70,000 crore allocated in the defence budget for modernisation and procurement of new equipment for all the three Services.

Ministry officials said that he will continue to be the in-charge of acquisition for land systems for the Army but is likely to be removed from there as well as his new reporting authority is Asha Ram Sihag, who is his batchmate from the administrative service.

With Verma taking over as the new joint secretary, the procurement of the 126 Rafale combat aircraft is expected to get further delayed and the negotiations may extend to the next financial year. 

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