The Indian government has finally ended the Rs 3,546-crore VVIP chopper deal on the grounds that Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland had breached the integrity pact by allegedly paying several million euros in bribes.
The formal announcement was made yesterday when Defence Minister A K Antony met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss further development in the case.
The Indian ministry had frozen the deal in February, ordering a criminal investigation following the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO in connection to the bribery scandal. Simply put, the MoD has suspended both payments and will not be accepting further deliveries.
The Indian Express reported that kickbacks worth 51 million euros were generated in the deal to supply 12 state-of-the-art helicopters to the IAF to fly VVIPs.
While India has paid more than 45 per cent of the contract amount after the deal was signed in 2010, it has so far received only three aircraft. Termination of the deal means no more money will be paid and the government will take steps to recover the payment already made.
"The Government of India has terminated with immediate effect the Agreement that was signed with M/s. AgustaWestland International Ltd., (AWIL) on 8 February 2010 for the supply of 12 VVIP/VIP helicopters on grounds of breach of the Pre-Contract Integrity Pact (PCIP) and the Agreement by AWIL," the government issued a statement.