In a fresh development in the AgustaWestland chopper case, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in an interview to The Indian Express, said that Italian company Finmeccanica is banned from participating in any new defence procurement. Finmeccanica is currently under investigation for charges of bribery in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.
The newspaper quoted Pakkikar as saying, "Finmeccanica is banned from participating in defence procurement. I cannot ban it from doing something else if it wants to. In defence we don’t buy equipment from some countries for security reasons, but I don’t stop that country from selling smart-phones in India."
On Sunday, PTI also quoted Parrikar, saying, "Wherever there is capital procurement of Finmeccanica and their subsidiaries, all Requests for Proposal (RFP) will be closed. I am very clear.”
He further added that the process for blacklisting the Italian company and its subsidiaries has already begun. A note with regard to the same has also been sent to the Law Ministry.
The decision to blacklist Finmeccanica will affect all its subsidiary companies, including AgustaWestland. Other companies that will face a backlash of this decision include naval products company Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquel (WASS), aerospace major Alenia Aeromacchi, radar and communications firm Selex Electronics Systems (ES) and armaments company Oto Melara. Contracts with either of these companies that may already be under execution will also come under the radar.
According to the report, Selex ES is currently fitting the RAN-40L AESA radar system on aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, while Oto Melara is involved in building a 76-mm naval gun, collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL).
However, Parrikar's statement focuses only on new capital acquisitions. The newspaper explains Parrikar's statement as saying that import of spare parts of already acquired defence supplies, along with annual maintenance of these supplies, will be continued with the firm itself.
The report further confirms that the tender with WASS to provide 98 Black Shark for India’s six French Scorpene submarines, will also be withdrawn.