AgustaWestland chopper deal: Brigadier denies charges
Posted on: 09:04 PM IST Mar 04, 2013
New Delhi: A brigadier, whose name figured in the allegations of kickbacks in the chopper deal, has been asked by the government about the charges, which he has denied. The allegations were levelled against the brigadier for seeking USD five million from AgustaWestland during an ongoing probe in Italy into the alleged involvement of Finmeccanica in paying kickbacks to secure the deal for 12 VVIP choppers.
The deal in question in the brigadier's case is for procuring 197 light utility choppers for the army and the IAF. The brigadier was officially asked to explain his stand on the allegations levelled against him and he has denied any involvement in the alleged scandal, sources said here.
The charges were levelled against the officer in a letter allegedly sent by an AgustaWestland official in India to his superiors in Italy saying that the brigadier was seeking USD 5 million for facilitating the deal in their favour.
AgustaWestland was ousted from the light chopper deal soon after it responded to the tender issued by the Defence Ministry and only two firms European Eurocopter and Russian Rosoboronexport are left behind in the race. Finmeccanica is the parent company of AgustaWestland and is under the scanner after the arrest of CEOs of both the groups for paying kickbacks to Indian authorities in the Rs 3,600 crore deal.
India has put on hold the deal for the VVIP choppers on hold and is seeking more clarifications from the Italian firm after initiating the process to cancel the deal.