The defence ministry said on Thursday that corruption was the core issue in the VVIP chopper scam and the government will leave no stone unturned in implicating the corrupt and the wrong-doers involved in the case.
Refuting the Congress’ claim that the Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer, AgustaWestland, was blacklisted by the UPA government, it said it was the NDA government that had put on hold, on July 3, 2014, all procurement and acquisition cases in the pipeline of six companies involved in the scam.
It said that CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) are pursuing the investigation, including the arrest and extradition of three alleged middlemen -- Carlo Gerosa, Guido Haschke Ralph and Christian Michel James.
“Publicly available information on the procurement of AgustaWestland helicopters clearly shows that the core issue in the matter is corruption. The present government has taken effective action to bring out the truth and will leave no stone unturned in pursuing all means to bring to justice the corrupt and the wrong-doers in this case,” a statement released by the ministry said.
It said the time taken is largely because some of the key perpetrators of this “misdeed” are outside the country.
Questions have been raised on certain trivial technicalities that appear to be intended to distract attention from the core issue of corruption, the defence ministry said.
The ministry said that the contract for supply of 12 helicopters, signed with AgustaWestland International Ltd (AWIL) on February 8, 2010, was terminated with effect from January 1, 2014.
“The main reason was breach of the provisions of the Pre-Contract Integrity Pact and breach of terms of contract by AWIL. However, the company was not debarred by the said order. Various bonds and bank guarantees were invoked.
“It is the present government, which through its order dated July 3, 2014, put on hold all procurement/acquisition cases in the pipeline of six companies figuring in the FIR registered by the CBI. No new capital procurement has been made thereafter from these companies in the tenure of the present government,” the statement said.
The said companies are AgustaWestland International Ltd, Finmeccanica, Italy and its group of companies, including subsidiaries and affiliates -- IDS, Tunisia, Infotech Design System (IDS), Mauritius, IDS Infotech Ltd, Mohali and Aeromatrix Info Solution Pvt. Ltd, Chandigarh.