The VVIP chopper deal that is gathering storm over bribery charges had been red-flagged by finance ministry on at least two occasions in 2008, sources privy to the developments told HT.
The expenditure department sought answers to 15 issues which came up during the preparation of the note on the acquisition which was to be discussed by the cabinet committee on security (CCS).
The air force had sought inclusion of two additional parameters—Traffic Collision Avoidance System and Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System.
The expenditure department wrote a second letter to defence officials after the latter’s first letter reportedly replied only partially to the initial queries.
Queries mostly pertained to last-minute changes in specifications and its cost implications.
The CCS, however, cleared the deal after it was convinced of the need of the choppers with additional safety parameters.
Earlier, during the UPA tenure, the number of choppers was also increased from 8 to 12 as it was collectively felt that four choppers would be required for non-VIP operations.
Top sources also added that during A K Antony’s tenure as defence minister, all technical aspects were intensely scrutinized.
Sources also claimed that during SP Tyagi’s tenure as the air chief, no complaint against him had been made. The deal, involving supply of 12 VVIP choppers by Italian firm AgustaWestland, has come under the scanner of investigating agencies.