VVIP deal effect: Govt defers purchase of 197 light choppers

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New Delhi, April 2: The government on Tuesday postponed a decision on a deal to buy 197 light-utility helicopters, which is waiting for the completion of an investigation into bribery allegations. Meanwhile, the army has asked the government to investigate into the charges that a brigadier had sought a briber of Rs 25 crore from AgustaWestland, an issue which has led to the stalling of procurement of the light choppers.

The charges against the Brigadier emerged during the probe into the VIP chopper deal about the alleged involvement of Finmeccanica in paying bribes to secure the Indian contract for 12 VVIP helicopters. The allegations have delayed the finalization of the deal for 197 helicopters for the army and the IAF to replace the vintage Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

The defence ministry had asked the army in a Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting held recently to take responsibility that there was no wrongdoing in the charges against the military officer to which, the latter asked the government to probe further before taking a final decision.

Once the charges came up, the ministry had asked the Italian government to provide the name and documents related to the alleged involvement of the brigadier in the process for the procurement of the 197 choppers.
Defence deals have come under heavy scrutiny recently after allegations of bribery came up in the $750 million VVIP chopper deal. The government is now thinking whether to blacklist AugustaWestland over the VVIP deal.

OneIndia News

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