Defence Ministry issues notice to Agusta for cancelling chopper deal

Armed with fresh details on the alleged kickbacks, India has initiated steps to cancel the Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal with AgustaWestland.

New Delhi: Armed with fresh details on the alleged kickbacks, India has initiated steps to cancel the Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal with Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland by issuing a show cause notice to it in this regard.

The latest initiative by the Defence Ministry comes soon after the Attorney General gave his opinion that there was breach of contractual obligations and the integrity pact by the firm, sources said here.

The Defence Ministry has issued a show cause notice to the firm for cancellation of the deal and given it four weeks time to respond to it, they said.

The ministry has also gathered important details during the ongoing investigations in the deal in both India and Italy since February.

The government has already frozen the contract for supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF after allegations that Rs 360 crore were paid as bribe in which two top officials of the company were accused.

The IAF has already received three helicopters and delivery of the rest has been put on hold.

Last week, the company said it has invoked arbitration proceedings against the Defence Ministry for "unilaterally" freezing the deal.

The Law Ministry has also told the Defence Ministry that the arbitration proceedings initiated by AgustaWestland are also not binding on it.