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Chopper deal: No wrongdoing in links with software firms, AgustaWestland tells Ministry of Defence

Press Trust of India
Mar 15, 2013 at 08:41pm IST

New Delhi: Facing the threat of cancellation of its helicopter deal, AgustaWestland has claimed that there was no wrongdoing in its links with the two software firms, which were allegedly used to pay kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore chopper contract. The Anglo-Italian firm has written to the Defence Ministry, and attached along with a report of an auditor to support its claim.

The Defence Ministry, however, is not convinced with the audit report and has asked the firm to furnish more details about its transactions with Tunisia and Chandigarh-based firms IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix respectively, sources said in Delhi. The letter has come in response to the Defence Ministry's specific query about AgustaWestland's links with the two software firms which were allegedly used as a cover to pay a portion of the kickbacks.

Both IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix are being investigated by Central Bureau of Investigation along with former Air Force chief SP Tyagi and three of his cousins for allegedly ensuring that AgustaWestland won the VVIP chopper deal. A showcause notice was issued by the Defence Ministry to AgustaWestland in February as part of the process to cancel the contract for 12 VVIP helicopters. The Ministry had asked the firm why the deal should not be cancelled in view of corruption charges against it.

No wrongdoing in links with software firms: AgustaWestland

The Defence Ministry, however, is not convinced with the audit report and has asked AgustaWestland to furnish more details.

The firm had replied to the letter denying any wrongdoing in the deal but Defence Minister AK Antony had rejected the response of the company. The Defence Minister has ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 362 crore after the arrest of CEO of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini by Italian investigators in connection with the case.

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