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Rediff.com  » News » SC declines early hearing to PIL on VVIP chopper deal

SC declines early hearing to PIL on VVIP chopper deal

February 14, 2013 17:57 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to give an urgent hearing to a public interest litigation seeking apex court-monitored probe by a special investigation team or central vigilance commission into the alleged kickbacks in the Rs 3600-crore VVIP chopper deal.

"Let it come in a regular way," a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said when the matter was mentioned for early hearing.

The public interest litigation filed by advocate M L Sharma has sought a direction for the ministry of defence to scrap the contract with Italian company Finmeccanica for the supply of 12 AW101 helicopters.

The helicopters are produced by Finmeccanica's subsidiary AgustaWestland and till now India has already procured three of them to ferry VVIPs.

The advocate has sought SIT or CVC probe under the supervision of the apex court without involving the Central Bureau of Investigation which, he alleged, is under government's control.

The petition said despite having information since 2011, no FIR was lodged against Indian citizens allegedly involved in the scam.

The PIL was filed after Defence Minister A K Antony ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of payment of bribes of about Rs 362 crore to clinch the deal.

Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested on Monday in relation to a probe into international corruption.

The petition said the country, which would have benefited from the deal has taken action, while the country that lost money has not done anything and no arrest has yet been made.

The ministry of defence has decided to put on hold the receipt of the remaining nine of the 12 helicopters for which the Rs 3600-crore deal was struck in 2010.

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