New Delhi: AugustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian firm, which is under the scanner for 3600-cr VVIP choppers deal, has responded to the bribery allegations being levelled against it, and said that India can’t scrap the deal as the matter is still being investigated by the authorities in Italy.
Replying to a showcause notice issued by the Indian Defence Ministry on why the choppers deal shouldn’t be revoked in light of the bribery charges, the Italian firm had issued a letter duly signed by its Managing Director Raymond Edwards, which enlists the firm’s justifications over the chopper deal.
The letter that has been accessed by a leading TV news channel says that India cannot revoke a deal based on mere media reports as Italian investigations are at a "pre-trial phase" and that charges have not been "tested in court."
Denying any claims of wrongdoings, the firm has stressed in the letter that the deal was signed in a transparent manner.
The firm says that it bagged the contract following a comprehensive technical and flight evaluation of competing types performed by the IAF in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedures.
The Indian government has already contacted the Italian authorities over the charges that huge kickbacks were paid by the Italian defence firm and is reportedly mulling over cancellation of the deal.
It has been alleged that that the firm AW paid about nearly 350 crores as kickbacks to Indian officials, including former Indian Air Force Chief SP Tyagi.
Indian Defense Ministry will take a decision on deal cancellation after reviewing the reply by AgustaWestland.