New Delhi, Feb 4 IANS | 10 months ago

The defence ministry has cancelled bookings of AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica from a military exhibition as the two companies were "under investigation" in the now-cancelled Rs.3,600 crore deal to supply choppers for VVIP use, a senior official said Tuesday.

G. C. Pati, secretary, Defence Production, said at a press conference that it was government's policy not to allow participation in a defence exhibition by companies that had been blacklisted or were under investigation.

He said companies wanting to take part in Defexpo could do so online.

"Their (Finmeccanica) booking has been cancelled...Their (AgustaWestland) booking was also cancelled," Pati said.

"As per our policy, any company under blacklist...under investigation, they will not be allowed," he added.

The ministry had last month scrapped its contract with AgustaWestland to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force for "breach of pre-contract integrity pact and the agreement".

The deal with AgustaWestland - the British subsidiary of Italian firm Finmeccanica - was scrapped more than a year after reports that two top officials of the company allegedly paid bribes to bag the contract for the chopper maker.

The Central Bureau of Investigation is conducting probe into the alleged kickbacks in the AgustaWestland deal.

Pati said that 624 exhibitors will take part in DefExpo - an exhibition of land, naval, internal and homeland security equipment.

Of the participants, 256 were Indian companies and 368 were foreign companies.

The US, Britain, Russia, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland, and South Africa are the countries that are participating at the defexpo.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony will inaugurate the expo Feb 6 and it will continue till Feb 9.

Pati said there were 511 delegates from 52 countries for the biennial event.

(Posted on 04-02-2014)

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