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Def Min to keep out Finmeccanica group from military show

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NEW DELHI (PTI): After scrapping the Rs 3,600 crore chopper contract, Indian Defence Ministry has said it is ousting AgustaWestland's parent company Finmeccannica from the biennial military exhibition DefExpo starting February 6.

The step comes after India scrapped the contract on January 1 after finding that AgustaWestland allegedly breached the pre-contract integrity pact (PCIP) in the deal for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Air Force.

Finmeccanica had booked space for its group companies at the show but their participation is now being cancelled, highly-placed Defence officials told PTI here.

The Ministry has a clear policy that firms having corruption cases pending against them or if they are already blacklisted, would not be allowed to take part in the exhibition, where more than 455 companies are expected to participate this year, they said.

It is learnt that Finmeccanica has already paid the participation fees for the show and this would be returned to it shortly, they said.

The Defence Ministry has a list of 12 companies, which have been blacklisted by it over a period of time and are not allowed to take part in its ceremonies and exhibitions.

It is learnt that Finmeccanica was taking part in the event along with its other group firms including Oto Malera, WASS and other group companies.

The Defence Ministry has not yet blacklisted AgustaWestland or any of its group companies and says that it will take a decision in this regard after consulting the Law Ministry and the CBI.

At the last edition of Defexpo, sister concern of one of the blacklisted Swiss firms had put up its stall at the show causing embarrassment to the Defence Ministry.

The Defence Ministry has already asserted that India will not lose any money in the Rs 3,600 crore deal in which payment of 30 per cent has already been made.

The deal was for supply of 12 AW-101 helicopters, of which three had already been delivered before the contract was frozen after allegations of kickbacks surfaced in February last year.

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