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India Cancels Helicopter Contract With AgustaWestland

Cites Improprieties By Management In Scrapping $600 Million Deal

The government of India has officially canceled a contract with AgustaWestland worth about $600 million because of allegations that the helicopter company's managers took kickbacks from the deal.

The contract was initially signed in 2010, according to a report from United Press International which relays a report from the Calcutta Telegraph. The Indian government said that AgustaWestland violated an "integrity pact" by using outside agents to close the deal. That allegation came after earlier reports of kickbacks to the company.

Three of the 12 aircraft ordered have already been delivered. The Telegraph said that the decision to cancel the remaining nine helicopters on order was made by Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Officials of the Italian helicopter company and its parent, Finmeccanica, have denied any wrongdoing, according to a report from the BBC.

The aircraft ordered were high-end AW-101 aircraft to be used for VIP transport for dignitaries such as the Prime Minister and the country's President.

Defense News reports that a contrubuting factor may be that the Singh government has already been hurt by a string of scandals.

(Indian Air Force AW101 pictured in file photo)

FMI: http://mod.nic.in

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