New Delhi: Amid the ongoing political tussle over the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper bribery scam, a report has claimed that the defence firm in question has not returned the entire down payment made by India for the purchase of 12 such helicopters.
NDTV reported on Friday that AgustaWestland, a UK-based subsidiary of Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica, has yet to return some 106 million euros paid for three choppers whose deliveries had been made to India before the scam came to light and the deal was subsequently cancelled.
The total deal was worth over Rs 3,600 crores; the figure quoted by the news channel is based on sources.
It had earlier been reported that India had recovered the entire down payment by encashing bank guarantees among other steps after cancelling the deal by invoking the integrity clause following revelations that middlemen had played a role in the deal.
In 2013, even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had stated that there were several procedural lapses in finalising the deal to acquire the helicopters.
The CAG had noted in a report tabled in Parliament in August 2013: “The benchmarked cost worked out by the Contract Negotiation Committee was Rs 4877.5 crore as against the estimated cost of Rs 793 crore approved by the Ministry in January 2006. This was more than six times the estimated cost. Further, the offered cost of the vendor was Rs 3966 crore. This was much below the benchmarked cost of Rs 4877.5 crore. Thus, the benchmarked cost was higher by 22.80 per cent.”
The then Congress-led UPA government had inked the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal in 2010. Four years later, it was scrapped after it emerged that Italian executives had paid kickbacks worth nearly Rs 226 crores.
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