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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Helicopter firm claims no rules were flouted

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 23, 2013
First Published: 01:50 IST(23/2/2013) | Last Updated: 02:17 IST(23/2/2013)

AgustaWestland on Friday denied employing any corrupt means to win the Rs. 3,760-crore VVIP chopper deal, claiming it had complied with India’s defence procurement rules.

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The UK-based firm made the assertion in response to a showcause notice issued to it by the defence ministry last Friday, seeking the cancellation of controversial contract for 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters.  It was given a seven-day deadline to respond to the notice.

The firm, a subsidiary of Italian defence group Finmeccanica, has maintained its conduct was “fully compliant” with the rules regulating the contract signed with India in February 2010.

AgustaWestland has claimed that the contract was awarded to it “following a comprehensive technical and flight evaluation” of competing platforms, performed by the air force in accordance with the defence procurement procedures.

“This evaluation demonstrated that the AW101 was the only aircraft able to fully meet the IAF’s operational requirements, as already confirmed by the Indian Authorities in different occasions,” the firm had said in a statement on Thursday.

Finmeccanica had earlier said it would cooperate with Indian authorities to clarify the matter and would collaborate in accordance with international practices applicable to such an investigation.

The firm said it had “acted correctly” throughout the 40 years it has operated in India, “one of the most strategic markets for the group.” It added that its companies continue to operate in India, complying fully with Indian law and ethics principles.


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