India scrapped the 3600 crore rupees to supply 12 VVIP helicopter deal with the Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland on 1 January 2014. It was scrapped following the alleged payment of kickbacks to the tune of 360 crore rupees paid in the deal. It has been done nearly a year after the scam that surfaced creating a political storm in India.
The deal was scrapped on the grounds of the breach of the pre-contract Integrity Pact and the agreement with the firm. The bribes were paid to win the contract by two executives of AugustaWestland, a unit of Italian defence contractor Finmeccanica to supply a dozen AW101 helicopters, which will be used by Indian Air Force for carrying the VVIPs and ministers.
India’s agreement with AgustaWestland
India did a deal for supply of 12 VVIP helicopters with AgustaWestland in 2010. The company has already delivered three helicopters to India. The controversy came into existence after the arrest of two top officials of the company in February 2013.
AgustaWestland was pressing the Indian Government for arbitration, whereas the Indian Government viewed that arbitration is not a subject to be taken care of due to the issues related to integrity. But India decided to get into the arbitration following an advice by the Attorney General of India after scrapping the deal.
Justice BP Jeevan Reddy has been nominated as the arbitrator of India to safeguard the interests of the Government.
List of some defence scandals of India
Jeeps Scandal in 1948: It was alleged that irregularities happened in the acquisition of the jeeps from England, which was used as army jeeps. The deal was signed by VK Menon, the Indian High Commissioner in Britain at that time. He bypassed a protocol to sign a deal of 80 lakh rupees. The case was closed in 1955 as t5he judicial inquiry ignored the suggestion of the Inquiry Committee led by Ananthsayanam Ayyangar. It was first major corruption of Independent India.
Bofors Scandal in 1987: It is alleged that the Swedish arms maker, Bofors bribed to get the deal of the 155 mm Howitzers. Rajiv Gandi, the then Prime Minister of India was involved in the scandal, which was closed after 21 years of probe in 2011. It was signed between India and Swedish metals and armaments major to replace the old field guns and artillery available with Indian army. The government of India decided the induction of the Calibre 155 mm howitzers. AB bofors of Sweden manufactured the FH-77 gun, which was owned by Alfred Nobel one.
Scorpene Submarine Scandal of 2005: It alleges bribery of 500 crore rupees by Thales, a defence company of France to purchase the submarine of Scorpene for Indian Navy. No evidence was found by CBI in its preliminary enquiry. Pranab Mukherjee the then Union Defence Minister approved a deal worth 19000 crore rupees in October 2005. These submarines are being in India at present under a technology transfer agreement. The technology transfer agreement was a part of the agreement signed.
Barack Missiles Scandal in 2000: RK Jain, the treasurer of Samata Party was arrested and former Defence Minister of India George Fernandes was named for the allegations of bribery for acquisition of Barack missile by Israel. In 2006 a case was lodged by CBI and the case was closed in 2011.
Tatra Trucks Scandal of 2012: The former chief of Army General VK Singh alleged that he was offered a bribe to clear the purchase of these trucks. Questions were raised on the quality of the heavy duty trucks made by Tatra.
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