Choppergate: Antony had questioned foreign trials | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Choppergate: Antony had questioned foreign trials

delhi Updated: Aug 13, 2013 20:18 IST

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Defence minister AK Antony had questioned the IAF decision to hold overseas trials for the VVIP chopper deal but later agreed to the same after receiving an assurance from the then IAF top brass, states a CAG report.

In its report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the Comptroller and Auditor General also questioned the IAF trial evaluation report saying that even though neither of the two vendors were compliant with the qualitative requirements, an IAF team "recommended induction of AW-101 chopper of AgustaWestland".

"The reasons cited for conducting trials at vendor-specified locations instead of in India are not convincing enough.

"It is particularly so when viewed against the background of cases like the Eurocopter where technical terms had certified the equipments but the credibility of the trial process was thrown into question later," the CAG said.

The CAG said the defence minister agreed to trials at foreign bases only after an assurance by IAF that the evaluation team was fully competent to carry out the task assigned to it.

"What is the guarantee that fidelity and credibility of these trials will remain above board when they do not take place in the country," the report quoted Antony as having asked in a note on the procurement process after he was initially presented with the said proposal.

The report says the then Air Force chief had written to the then defence secretary in October 2007 stating how trials at vendors' facilities offered many advantages, adding that a delay on account of holding them in India was not advisable.