New Delhi: Under fire over allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, the government on Wednesday asserted that nobody found guilty will be spared and if wrongdoings were found by the CBI, the contract can be scrapped. "Nobody will be spared whatever may be the consequences," Defence Minister AK Antony told reporters on the alleged Italian chopper scam.
Another scam had unfolded with the arrest on Tuesday of the head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company that is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs 362 crore in India to get orders for helicopters to ferry Indian VVIPs, prompting the government to order a CBI probe.
The Ministry of Defence also 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.
Listed below is a brief chronology of the events:
December 2003-2004: US company Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is the sole bidder for VVIP helicopter bid; Special Protection Group is dissatisfied with cabin specifications; PMO recommends altering specifications, opening bids to others; Operational ceiling reduced from 18,000 feet to 15,000 feet; AugustaWestland, Russian helicopters enter race; AW-101 helicopter emerges successful, technical parameters frozen; S Krishnaswamy is the then Air Chief.
December 2004: SP Tyagi takes over as IAF Chief, serves until March 2007.
2006: UPA government clears the AugustaWestland bid, contract negotiations get underway
2010: The agreement is signed
October 2012: Italian investigation into the deal throws up name of Sanjeev Tyagi, cousin of SP Tyagi.