Defence Minister A.K. Antony in Parliament today: "The proposal for acquisition of 197 Light Utility Helicopters is due for consideration of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC). The procurement procedure has been conducted in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure. No formal enquiry has been instituted in the case of procurement of the 197 Light Utility Helicopters."
197 Copter Deal Needs To Be Examined: IAF Chief
The Minister also spoke today on the prospective blacklisting of Finmeccanica or AgustaWestland: Here's what he said:
"On the report of the arrests of the Finmeccanica Chief and Chief Executive of Agusta Westland Spa in connection with the investigations in Italy regarding alleged wrong doing and unethical conduct by M/s Finmeccanica, parent company of M/s Agusta Westland, U.K., the CBI was asked on February 12, 2013 to conduct an enquiry into the matter. Further details will be available on receipt of report of CBI. A Show Cause Notice has been sent to M/s Agusta Westland, U.K. on 15th February, 2013 asking them to explain as to why steps should not be initiated for cancellation of the Contract. The operation of the Contract has been put on hold and further payments to M/s Agusta Westland, U.K. stopped. No decision to blacklist the Company has so far been taken."
He also said:
"Following reports of the arrest of the Chief Executive of Finmeccanica in connection with the investigations in Italy regarding alleged wrong doing and unethical conduct by M/s Finmeccanica, parent company of M/s Agusta Westland, U.K., the CBI was asked on February 12, 2013 to conduct an enquiry into the matter. The CBI has registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on February 25, 2013 in this matter. While the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had received a letter dated 14th December, 2012 from Shri Prakash Javadekar, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) on the subject matter, media reports relating to alleged payment of kickbacks/bribes by M/s Finmeccanica started surfacing since February 2012. Ever since then, MoD has pursued the matter with the Embassy in Rome to get credible information regarding the status of investigation and authenticity of the documents/records being cited in various media reports. Given the independence of the Italian Judiciary from the executive and the preliminary investigations being covered by 'Secrecy' clause under the Italian law, no concrete information was received. The matter was also taken up, through the MEA with the U.K. Government in view of the alleged involvement of a British consultant and the fact that the contract had been signed with M/s Agusta Westland, U.K. The UK side informed MEA that they have not launched any investigation and are awaiting the results of the Italian investigation in order to ascertain whether any further action needs to be taken. MoD had, thus, taken prompt action to seek factual information from the concerned Authorities."