New Delhi: Government on Friday sent a show cause notice to AgustaWestland for scrapping the Rs 3,600 crore deal for 12 VVIP helicopters even as a CBI team prepared to leave for Italy to probe charges that kickbacks to the tune of Rs 362 crore were paid to bag the contract.
The Defence Ministry also indicated that it could invoke a clause in the contract for recovery of money already paid as it threatened to take other actions as per terms of the contract. More than 30 per cent of the total sum has already been paid.
"The Defence Ministry issued a formal show cause notice to AgustaWestland seeking cancellation of the contract and taking other actions as per terms of the contract," Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.
The company was asked to explain the bribery allegations within seven days and reply why the contract of 2010 should not be cancelled.
India has also written afresh to the Italian government seeking information in the case which has triggered a major uproar here.
A CBI team is also being sent to Italy where the CEOs of AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica have been arrested on charges of bribery.
The decision by the CBI came as it virtually drew a blank from Defence Ministry in getting any official inputs in regard to alleged kickbacks in the case, official sources said today. The team is likely to leave soon.
The Defence Ministry's notice comes a day after the ministry warned of legal action, including invoking integrity pact which provides for cancellation of the contract if bribes are paid and recovery of the money already paid.
Next: India awaits 'fuller response' from UK on chopper deal