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Defence Ministry to decide soon on scrapping Rs 3,600 cr chopper deal

PTI | Last Updated: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 19:48

New Delhi: Defence Ministry will soon take a final call on scrapping the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal as AgustaWestland on Tuesday said it has submitted its reply to the final show cause notice issued to it by the government in the chopper scam.

In its reply, the Anglo-Italian firm has denied any wrongdoing on its part but Defence Ministry officials maintain that the firm has indulged in violating the contract, sources said here today.

The reply was submitted to the Defence Ministry yesterday, AgustaWestland officials said here.

However, the Defence Ministry will now carefully go through the reply before taking a final decision on the contract, which is most likely to be scrapped by Defence Minister A K Antony.

Antony has already stated that the firm has violated the contract and has even refused to be drawn in a legal battle with it saying there was "no question" of the Ministry getting into an arbitration process initiated by Agusta.

After Agusta unilaterally nominated former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna as arbitrator from its side, Antony had yesterday stated, "There is no question. Our stand is clear that there is no issue of arbitration. We have already given them a show cause notice. We will take a decision after they reply."

Facing threat of cancellation of its deal, Agusta had invoked the arbitration clause in the contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Air Force and nominated Srikrishna on its behalf on November 20.

A team of its officials had also met defence ministry officials to present its case in the chopper scam and denied any wrongdoing on its behalf.

The defence ministry has taken a stand against arbitration clause saying it does not apply to the pre-contract integrity pact which is signed by the ministry with its vendors.

Antony has already asserted that the firm had violated contractual obligations, for which the government had initiated action against it.

First Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 19:48
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