ibnlive » India

Mar 01, 2013 at 02:16pm IST

Supreme Court rejects PIL, refuses to examine AgustaWestland chopper deal

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to examine the AgustaWestland chopper deal after a PIL that a special investigation team should be set up to probe the Rs 4000-crore VVIP helicopter deal. Meanwhile, sources said that CBI is likely to quiz former IAF chief SP tyagi and his cousins next week.

In February 2010, India had inked the deal to acquire the 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters from AgustaWestland for IAF's elite Communication Squadron, which ferries around the President, PM and other VVIPs.

Despite initial objections by the finance ministry, the Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared the deal in 2010. Indian Defence Minister AK Antony had then said, "IAF and SPG repeatedly told us the helicopters were required because of the changing security scenario... the finance ministry also agreed later. The CCS then took a considered decision."

The case, which is still in its preliminary investigation phase, has rocked Italy before parliamentary elections on February 24-25, and also in India, the world's largest weapon importer. Prosecutors in the northern town of Busto Arsizio, near AgustaWestland's headquarters, said Orsi hired US-born Guido Ralph Haschke, who was then a consultant for the Finmeccanica group, to lead dealings in India to secure the contract.