Defence Ministry yet to blacklist Finmeccanica

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018


Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister

Legal vetting on, says Minister Manohar Parrikar

The Ministry of Defence is yet to blacklist Italian defence major Finmeccanica, the parent of AgustaWestland. It has, however, initiated the process by sending all the documents obtained by it on the ₹3,600-crore VVIP chopper scam for legal vetting.

“The blacklisting process has now started because the Italian court has clearly declared that there is a crime, and a bribe has been given. So, there are enough documents with us and we have sent the file for legal vetting on the decision,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told BusinessLine.

Parrikar said legal vetting of the documents is crucial because the company might approach the judiciary and seek damages later.

“Any action we take has legal repercussions. The company can go to court and ask for damages on certain issues. So I have to double check and I am not supposed to be an expert on law. Government cannot be arbitrary and has to ensure natural justice,” he said.

He also highlighted that the government will ensure all efforts are being made to “track the guilty.”

Money trail challenge

The scam rocked the last session of Parliament last April and brought former Air Chief SP Tyagi under the scanner, along with other retired defence personnel and bureaucrats.

However, Parrikar also acknowledged that the money trail as part of kickbacks and bribery will be difficult to trace. “It is up to the agencies to track the money. But sometimes it is very difficult to track the money flow because there are so many countries that do not give information and Indian courts don’t punish a person just on suspicion.

“I can prove intentions existed; I can prove that you intended to overpay. If money has gone into a country where no document is available, it is not so easy to track that,” he said.

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Published on May 20, 2016

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