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SC asks Chhattisgarh govt to show purchase files of AgustaWestland chopper

AgustaWestland chopper scam: SC asks Chhattisgarh govt to produce purchase

IANS  |  New Delhi 

British AgustaWestland AW101 'Merlin' HC3A in June 2012 (Source: Wikipedia, Cpl Phil Major ABIPP RAF)
File photo of AgustaWestland AW101 'Merlin' HC3A in June 2012 | Source: Wikipedia

Wondering why a notice inviting tenders mentioned only AgustaWestland's name, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed that the records related to purchase of a VIP helicopter by the government be placed before it in a week.

A bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit summoned all files and documents on the purchase of VIP helicopter as it was told that the bids were invited in disregard of the state Chief Secretary's suggestion for floating a global tender to ensure bids from other chopper manufacturers as well.

The court directed for further hearing on November 23.

The name of Chief Minister Raman Singh's son too is being mentioned in connection with the deal.

The court asked senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for the government, as to why the notice inviting tenders mentioned the name of the helicopter of only.

Why were other companies not considered even though the then Chief Secretary, in his note, said that the government should consider inviting global tenders, the apex court questioned?

Jethmalani said the tender for chopper purchase was limited to only as both the then Civil Aviation Secretary and the Chief Pilot had recommended the chopper by saying that they were much superior and would meet the required standards.

Not satisfied with the state government's reply on its choice of chopper only, the bench directed for the presentation of the deal file within a week.

The government had asked for two-week time.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal questioned the maintainability of the petition filed by NGO Swaraj Abhiyan and T.S. Singhdeo, who is leader of the Opposition in the assembly.

Even in an earlier hearing, the issue of the petition's maintainability was raised on the grounds of locus standi.

The court was told that judicial forums can't be used, and recourse taken to Article 32 of the Constitution, to settle political scores.

First Published: Thu, November 16 2017. 19:44 IST