Facing deal termination, AugustaWestland invokes arbitration clause

Facing threat of cancellation of its deal, AgustaWestland told the Defence Ministry it was not involved in any wrongdoing in securing the Rs 3,600 crore contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the IAF.

New Delhi: Facing threat of cancellation of its deal, AgustaWestland on Wednesday invoked the arbitration clause in the contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Air Force and nominated retired Supreme Court Judge BN Srikrishna on its behalf.

A team of the Anglo-Italian firm met Defence Ministry officials to present its case in the chopper scam and denied any wrongdoing on its behalf.

After the meeting, the company issued a statement saying it has nominated former Justice BN Srikrishna for arbitration with the Defence Ministry.

The Defence Ministry had in the past 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.

In the meeting, the Defence Ministry was represented by Joint Secretary and Acquisition Manager (Air) Upamanyu Chatterjee along with other officials at the meeting, they said.

The firm`s denial on the issue comes after Defence Minister AK Antony`s assertion that the firm had violated contractual obligations, for which the government had initiated action against it.

Earlier in the day, the firm had said in a statement that "AgustaWestland denies all allegations of violation of the pre-contract integrity pact and the contract. We will deliver the formal written response to the exceptions raised by the Indian Defence Ministry."

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