IAF for early decision on VVIP choppers
New Delhi: IAF is pushing for an early decision on VVIP choppers as it has told the government that the Mi-8 helicopters being used to ferry dignitaries would be phased out from next year.
"There is a CBI case (in the chopper scam) going on here and Italian investigations are happening in Milan. We have informed the government that the Mi-8 choppers which we were using are now going to be phased out from next year.
"So, some decision has to be taken soon on how to move forward. That particular contract has been frozen with effect from February 1," the IAF chief said on the status of the AW-101 contract.
The Defence Ministry had frozen the contract after allegations against top officials of the Anglo-Italian firm for paying kickbacks to Indian officials to secure the contract.
In the contract worth over 560 million Euro, there is an allegation that kickbacks were received by then IAF Chief SP Tyagi and the CAG also recently pointed out loopholes in the deal signed in 2010.
Browne said of the 12 machines ordered, three choppers have already been received by the force and two of them were in VVIP version while one was cargo variant.
He said the choppers deployed at the Palam air base "have flown very little in the last two months. We are training our boys there. The spares are also very limited. They have flown very little."
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