Why Was AgustaWestland Sole Pick, Chhattisgarh Asked In Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is hearing a petition by Swaraj Abhiyan - led by Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan - which alleges that UK-based AgustaWestland was favoured and chosen without a transparent tender process by the Raman Singh-led government.

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Why Was AgustaWestland Sole Pick, Chhattisgarh Asked In Supreme Court

The Raman Singh-government was asked why one company was chosen despite talk of global tender.


New Delhi:  Chhattisgarh's BJP government was asked today by the Supreme Court to produce within a week its documents on the purchase of a helicopter by AgustaWestland, the company at the core of allegations of massive corruption in the buying of VVIP choppers when the Congress was in power at the centre.

The Supreme Court is hearing a petition by Swaraj Abhiyan - led by Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan - which alleges that UK-based AgustaWestland was favoured and chosen without a transparent tender process by the Raman Singh-led government. The group alleges that the Chief Minister's son drove the deal worth over Rs 6 million, and asks for a Special Investigation Team to probe allegations of bribery.

The government was asked why one company was chosen despite talk of a global tender.

"When the Chief Secretary's note was about the purchase of a helicopter through global tender, why was Agusta chosen and who took the decision to confine the tender only to Augusta?" the court questioned.

To which, the government replied that it was acting on the recommendation of the "chief pilot" and the Civil Aviation Secretary. "No other company fulfilled the specifications," said the Raman Singh government.

The central government opposed the petition saying it had been filed by a political party - the Swaraj Abhiyan - and should not be entertained.

The Chhattisgarh government has been accused of paying $1.57 million - over 30 per cent - as commission to a company registered in tax-haven British Virginia Islands to buy the chopper. Raman Singh's son Abhishek Singh was drawn into the controversy after it emerged that he had formed a shell company six months after the helicopter was bought.

Swaraj Abhiyan alleges that a single vendor situation was termed as a global tender, where the only product was AgustaWestland and the three vendors were AgustaWestland, its distributor Sharp Ocean based in British Virgin Islands and OSS, its service provider.

The Chief Minister has dismissed the allegations as baseless.

Investigations are on in another alleged scam in which kickbacks were allegedly paid to Indian officials and politicians to influence the contract for a dozen VVIP choppers for the President, Prime Minister and other top leaders of the country.
 


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