Examining issue of blacklisting AgustaWestland: Antony

Examining issue of blacklisting AgustaWestland: Antony

After scrapping AgustaWestland's Rs 3,600 crore deal for supplying VVIP choppers, the Defence Ministry today said it will take a decision on the issue of blacklisting the firm after consultations with the Law Ministry and CBI.

"We are examining the whole thing and we will take a decision after detailed examination and in consultation with the Law Ministry and CBI. I don't want to take any hasty action that will cause problems to us....There is no understanding between the government and the company," Defence Minister A K Antony said on the sidelines of an NCC function here.

He was replying to a question on reports that the Anglo- Italian firm and the government have reached an understanding and the former would not be blacklisted.

The Defence Minister said the government is focusing on encashing its bank guarantees in Italy and India.

"In the Indian bank, we have encashed it. In the Italian bank, we are trying to get our money. There (in Italy) they have disputed but immediately we are trying to fight case and we are taking other actions to protect our interests," he said.

The Defence Ministry cancelled its contract with AgustaWestland on January 1 after it found that there was alleged breach of the pre-contract integrity pact. AgustaWestland has denied any wrongdoing on its part in the case relating to alleged kickbacks in the deal.

After scrapping the deal, India encashed a guarantee of over Rs 250 crore deposited by AgustaWestland in a bank in Delhi even as it is preparing to file an appeal against an Italian court's stay on its move to encash another guarantee in an Italian bank.

The Anglo-Italian firm had approached the court in Italy against the Indian action initiated soon after scrapping of the chopper deal on January one.

AgustaWestland has deposited over 270 million euros (over Rs 2200 crore) as guarantees in banks in India and Italy.

Asked about an inquiry into violation of norms in granting no objection certificate (NoC) to build a hotel and yacht facility at Viper Islands in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Antony said the investigation report was being assessed by his ministry and strict action would be taken if anyone is found guilty.

After reports appeared regarding alleged violation of rules in granting the NoC to a Malaysian firm, Antony had cancelled the sanction granted to the project and ordered an inquiry under the tri-services Integrated Defence Staff.

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