New Delhi: The defence ministry Sunday said it will take immediate steps to recover the sum of money lying in Italian banks as guarantee in the AgustaWestland chopper deal. The assertion comes in the wake of an Italian court allowing India to encash bank guarantees relating to the VVIP helicopter deal.
“The appellate court in Milan, Italy, in its judgment Friday, May 23, 2014, has substantially upheld the claims of Government of India against AgustaWestland International Ltd (AWIL), AW Spa and Deutsche Bank, Italy, on the encashment of bank guarantees and performance bond in the VVIP helicopter case,” an official statement here said.
Bank guarantees to the tune of Rs.1,818 crore are lying in Italian banks which the Indian government could not so far touch due to a stay issued by a Milan court. AgustaWestland had paid a total of Rs.2,217 crore in relation to the now scrapped VVIP chopper deal.
“The court also ordered AWIL and AW Spa to reimburse legal costs of Government of India,” the defence ministry statement said.
After India in January cancelled the Rs.3,600 crore deal for supplying 12 AW-101 choppers over allegations of bribery and payment of kickbacks, it had initiated the process to seize bank guarantees deposited in banks in Italy and India.
While guarantees deposited in Indian banks were encashed, similar seizures in Italy had been stayed by a Milan court.