'FIPB has sought Defence Min inputs on FDI in Agusta, Tata JV'

'FIPB has sought Defence Min inputs on FDI in Agusta, Tata JV'

'FIPB has sought Defence Min inputs on FDI in Agusta, Tata JV'

As AgustaWestland remains mired in controversy, the Finance Ministry has sought inputs from the Defence Ministry about a FDI proposal from the Italian company for its joint venture with Tata Sons to assemble helicopters in India.

The Finance Ministry yesterday said that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in its meeting on April 8 had deferred decision on the 'post-facto approval' sought by the JV, but did not give any reasons.

"We are waiting for the Defence Ministry to finalise the definition of state-of-the-art. For majority (beyond 50 per cent) FDI that definition is necessary. Once the Defence Ministry finalises the definition we will review the proposal once again," a Finance Ministry source said.

When asked if there was any political motive for deferring the proposal, the official reiterated that FIPB had not received inputs from the Defence Ministry.

There is need to understand the status of the Agusta, the official added. Indian Rotorcraft, a joint venture of AgustaWestland (a Finmeccanica company) and Tata Sons for setting up an assembly line for the AW119Ke helicopter, had sought post-facto approval of the FIPB for increased FDI inflow of Rs 19.64 crore as against Rs 17.6 crore approved in September 2011.

Besides the increased FDI inflow, it had also sought approval for "change of the foreign investor from AgustaWestland S.p.A, Italy to Finmeccanica S.p.A by way of merger of AgustaWestland S.p.A, Italy into Finmeccanica S.p.A."

Tatas have previously said Indian Rotorcraft has "no connection whatsoever with AgustaWestland’s (AW) supply of AW101 military helicopters to the Government of India". It is alleged that bribe was paid for securing the contract for supply of 12 AW101 military helicopters during the previous UPA regime.

"Indian Rotorcraft’s (IRL) business proposition is to assemble AW119ke helicopters, at a facility in Hyderabad, for exports to AW for it to sell them to its customers. IRL’s business remit does not include any selling activity for defence related entities," Tata Sons said on its website.

Tata Sons and Italian Defence major AgustaWestland had in February 2010 signed an agreement for formation of a joint venture company to establish a final assembly line for AW-119 helicopters for the Indian Army and the global market.

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