With a day to go for it to respond to the showcause notice, Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland on Thursday said it had “fully” complied with the rules that regulated the ` 3,546-crore VVIP choppers’ tender.
In a statement here, AgustaWestland said it would respond to the showcause notice in the spirit of “full cooperation” with the Union Ministry of Defence (MoD). “With reference to the Indian MoD’s request for information regarding the AW-101 (VVIP helicopter) contract received last week, AgustaWestland confirms it is responding to the notice in the spirit of full cooperation with the Indian MoD,” the statement said.
“AgustaWestland confirmed that its conduct has been fully compliant with the rules, which regulate the AW-101 helicopters contract signed with India,” it said. India had chosen AgustaWestland’s AW-101 helicopter in January 2010 for the 12-chopper fleet of the Air Force’s Communication Squadron that flies VVIPs in choppers that are high on comfort and security, with protection suites to evade attacks. AgustaWestland had already delivered three AW-101 helicopters to the IAF, while the remaining helicopters were slated for delivery by March 2014. India has already paid around 50 per cent of the contract amount to the company.
“The contract was awarded to AgustaWestland following a comprehensive technical and flight evaluation of competing types performed by the Indian Air Force in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedures,” the company said. “This evaluation demonstrated that the AW-101 was the only aircraft able to fully meet the Indian Air Force’s operational requirements, as already confirmed by the Indian authorities on different occasions,” it added.
Finmeccanica Promisesto Help CBI with Probe
Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland, has promised to co-operate with the CBI team and share information regarding the controversial chopper deal.
The team has requested Finmeccanica to share with it the company’s internal probe report. The CBI would receive the papers once the board meeting of the company takes place, agencies said.