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Govt may initiate move to blacklist AgustaWestland

PTI 28 Apr 2016, 13:14:38 PM IST

New Delhi: Amid the raging row over VVIP chopper scam, the government has that said it will seek a report from the CBI on the deal and initiate the move to blacklist AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica. It also claimed that the previous UPA dispensation had not put any embargo on the scandal-tainted company.

Top Modi government sources claimed the UPA government had not blacklisted AgustaWestland despite allegations of bribery and that it was only when the NDA came to power in 2014 all acquisition proposals with the firm were put on hold.

CBI had in 2013 registered a case in connection with alleged bribes paid by the firm to Indians to clinch the deal for 12 helicopters to ferry VVIPs including the President and Prime Minister.

Congress had yesterday claimed AgustaWestland was blacklisted under UPA rule but "removed" from the blacklist by the Modi government.

"The chopper deal was scrapped. Action was taken by the UPA government. A K Antony, the then Defence Minister, had made a statement in Parliament and AgustaWestland was blacklisted," Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

However, the government sources said, "The only punitive action taken by the Congress was in January 2014, just before the Lok Sabha elections, when the UPA government encashed the bank guarantee. They never blacklisted the company as claimed by them."

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar challenged the Congress to show the order by the UPA government confirming the blacklisting.

It was on July 3, 2014 when Arun Jaitley was Defence Minister that an order was issued which put on hold all procurement and acquisition cases in the pipeline with six companies involved in the scam including AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica, the sources said.