Govt says no decision yet taken to cancel AgustaWestland deal

NEW DELHI Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:15pm IST

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has not taken any decision so far on cancelling a $770 million helicopter deal with British-Italian company AgustaWestland after accusations it bribed officials, defence minister A.K. Anthony told parliament on Wednesday.

Anthony has in the past said he did not believe AgustaWestland's denial it paid bribes to swing the deal for the purchase of 12 helicopters for top politicians.

Ministry officials have said the deal was set to be scrapped, but any push to tear up the contract could meet resistance from other cabinet colleagues.

"While the operation of the contract for procurement of 12 VVIP/VIP helicopters has been put on hold, no decision has been taken so far to cancel the contract," Antony said in a written reply to the upper house of parliament.

He said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered cases against the AgustaWestland, Finmeccanica and four other companies but investigations were still in progress.

AgustaWestland, a unit of Italy's Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI) says the deal must go to arbitration. (Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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