Sikorsky officials claim copter deal fishy

HYDERABAD: At a time when defence purchases have come under the scanner following Army chief Gen V K Singh’s stunning revelations, another controversy seems to be brewing. This time, it is the

Published: 03rd April 2012 03:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:25 PM   |  A+A-

DEAL

HYDERABAD: At a time when defence purchases have come under the scanner following Army chief Gen V K Singh’s stunning revelations, another controversy seems to be brewing. This time, it is the $700 million deal to acquire 12 choppers for VVIPs from the Anglo-Italian firm Augusta Westland. Sikorsky Aircraft manufacturer, the only other contender, which was eliminated before the commercial bidding, said there was conclusive evidence of financial irregularities. “There’s enough conclusive evidence. Let the law take its own course. The ministry has ordered a probe and the law of the land should prevail,” a senior official from Sikorsky told Express.

Augusta Westland won the contract for the choppers -- to be used by the president, Prime Minister and other top government functionaries -- after its AW 101 edged out Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk. Incidentally, Sikorsky has a S-92 helicopter cabin manufacturing facility in Hyderabad and, according to industry sources, its choppers are economical, considering local assembly and production.

Comments from within Sikorsky come at a time when Italian prosecutors are investigating allegations of corruption against state-backed defence major Finmeccanica, the parent firm of Augusta Westland. Subsequently, the defence ministry initiated a probe into the deal last month and a final report is awaited.

Meanwhile, this was not the first time that the deal has run into trouble. In 2009, the finance ministry had objected to high price of the choppers. Later in Feb, 2010, MoD issued a Letter of Intent (LoI) to Augusta Westland. However, even after two years, government is yet to give a go-ahead to Augusta Westland. “The delay is only procedural, and has nothing to do with concerns from other ministries,” minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju recently said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Hyderabad news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp