The government's move to blacklist Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland in the wake of bribery allegations in VVIP helicopter deal is set to be delayed with Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran advising against any immediate action.
The issue has now been referred to CBI which is carrying out legal proceedings against the company, which is accused of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 360 crore in the Rs 3600 crore deal.
"The Law officer has asked us to wait before going ahead with the blacklisting of the Anglo-Italian firm. We have now referred the issue to CBI, which is carrying out legal proceedings against the firm in India," highly-placed Defence Ministry sources told PTI here.
The Defence Ministry had sought the opinion on blacklisting soon after it cancelled the contract to supply choppers on January 1 after agreeing to get into arbitration with the Anglo-Italian firm.
The arbitration process is yet to start between the two sides as they have not agreed upon the third member of the arbitration panel in which AgustaWestland has nominated former Supreme Court judge Justice (retd) BN Srikrishna and the Defence Ministry has nominated former Justice Jeevan Reddy.
The Anglo-Italian firm is learnt to have approached the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris over the issue of appointment of third member of the arbitration panel, sources said.
AgustaWestland has denied any wrongdoing on its part in the case relating to alleged kickbacks in the deal. The deal was for procuring 12 helicopters and three of them had already been delivered when the scam broke out in February last year.
After scrapping the deal, India encashed a guarantee of over Rs 250 crore deposited by AgustaWestland in a bank in Delhi.