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VVIP chopper scam:Law Ministry`s advice to be taken before decision on Agusta deal

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 20:28

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry will take the advice of the Law Ministry before its final decision on scrapping the Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal with AgustaWestland.

The ministry is in the final stages of taking a decision on the controversial deal after the Anglo Italian firm furnished its reply to the government`s final show cause notice for cancelling the contract.

It will take the Law Ministry`s advice before taking a final call on the deal, Defence Ministry officials said here.
The ministry is now carefully going through the reply furnished by the firm before taking a final decision on the contract, which is most likely to be scrapped by Defence Minister AK 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 nominated former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna as arbitrator from its side, Antony had stated that there was no case for arbitration in the contract as the ministry was planning to initiate action on the basis of the violation of the pre-integrity pact.

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: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 20:28

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