The proposed dropping of probe against defence major Finmeccanica by Italian prosecutor will not affect the probe of CBI into alleged bribery in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from its sister concern AgustaWestland.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley will review the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal with the ministry preparing a presentation for him on the procurement which was scrapped after allegations of bribery and payment of kickbacks.
Finmeccanica said on Friday an Italian court had revoked a freeze on up to 228 million euros ($311 million) of bank guarantees that India was seeking to recover in a dispute with the Italian defence group over a scrapped helicopter deal.
The government`s move to blacklist Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland in the wake of bribery allegations in VVIP helicopter deal is set to be delayed with Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran advising against any immediate action.
An Italian court has barred India from encashing bank guarantees worth over Rs 2,360 crore of AgustaWestland as part of the penalties imposed on it after scrapping of the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.
In a fresh development in the scam-tainted VVIP chopper deal, lawyers of AgustaWestland have reportedly told an Italian court that its parent company Finmeccanica had hosted the then IAF chief F H Major in 2007, a period when the bidders were being shortlisted.
The Defence Ministry has cancelled bookings of AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica from a military exhibition as the two companies were "under investigation" in the now-cancelled Rs 3,600 crore deal to supply choppers for VVIP use, a senior official said Tuesday.
A week before cancelling the VVIP chopper deal with AgustaWestland, the Defence Ministry had approved a long-pending Navy proposal for buying heavy-weight torpedos from the Italian company`s sister concern to be considered by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
Italian defence group Finmeccanica said on Thursday its AgustaWestland unit welcomed a decision by the Indian government to take part in an arbitration process over a $770 million helicopter deal, but warned of possible job cuts.
The scrapping of the deal with AugustaWestland – the British arm of Italian firm Finmeccanica - could now open the doors for fresh contract with other chopper companies like United Technologies Corp`s Sikorsky Aircraft, EADS` Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin.
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.