New Delhi: As more high-profile names cropped up in connection with bribery allegations in the $750 million VVIP chopper deal, the Indian government on Friday put the contract with Italian firm Finmeccanica on hold and began the process to cancel it.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has been entrusted to probe the bribery allegations, is likely to send a team to Italy within a week to probe the alleged around 51 million euro crore kickbacks paid by Finmeccanica to clinch the deal.
In a three-para statement, the ministry of defence said it has "initiated action for cancellation of contract for procurement of 12 AW101 helicopters for the use of VVIPs".
It also issued a formal show cause notice to AgustaWestland, the subsidiary of Finmeccanica, seeking cancellation of contract and "taking other actions as per the terms of the contract and the Integrity Pact". The company has been given seven days to reply.
The action comes a day after the government warned Finmeccanica of legal action, including blacklisting, and asked whether any slush money had been paid to fix the deal that has led to a political uproar.
15/02/13 Daily News & Analysis