VVIP chopper deal case: ED summons two ex-IAF officers

The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday issued summons to two retired Indian Air Force (IAF) officers in connection with the money laundering probe in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

ANI| Updated: Mar 17, 2015, 10:09 AM IST

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday issued summons to two retired Indian Air Force (IAF) officers in connection with the money laundering probe in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

According to reports, the two officers were found to have received money from Christian Michel, who has been named as a middleman paid to ensure that the controversial chopper deal was secured.

The monetary transactions involved reportedly run into lakhs of rupees.

The VVIP chopper deal involved the purchase of twelve helicopters to transport top politicians across the country.

The deal for the purchase of AW101 helicopters hit a block in February 2013 after the then-chief executive of the Italian firm Finmeccanica was arrested by his country's police for allegedly paying bribes to secure the deal, prompting the Indian Government to freeze payments.

India took delivery of three helicopters before the deal stalled. Three more have been ready for delivery to India since April 2013, three were close to completion, and work had begun on the final three at the AgustaWestland plant in Britain.

Though AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica both denied any wrongdoing, the Ministry of Defence maintained that there was very little chance of the contract being finalised.

Under India's defence procurement rules, the integrity pact prohibits paying or accepting bribes. The government can cancel a contract if the pact is violated, and the seller has to forfeit any security money it deposited as a bidder.

In October 2013, AgustaWestland had called for arbitration in the dispute, but the Ministry of Defence said there is no case for such action as the firm had breached the integrity pact.

The Rs 3,600 crore deal was finally cancelled early last year.