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Finmeccanica to participate in Aero India show

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica will participate in the 'Aero India' show in Bengaluru this month, a year after it was ousted from the biennial military exhibition DefExpo in the wake of bribery charges in VVIP chopper scam.

"We have a very clear policy on that. Scam-tainted people, they were all (blacklisted) with respect to procurements. This is totally different. This is industrial type event and we are not preventing anyone from particpating," G Mohan Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production), told reporters here.

Indian governemnt had last year in January kept over 12 defence firms out of the Defexpo 2014.

The decision to keep out Finmeccanica, embroiled in the VVIP helicopter scandal, was taken at the last moment despite the conglomerate having already booked space in the exhibition by paying the participating fee.

Since, then things have changed with respect to Finmecanica. In August last year, India barred Finmeccannica from participating in future tenders while deciding to carry out ongoing contracts with the group and its subsidiary AgustaWestland, more than a month after putting all deals on hold.

Confirming Finmeccanica's particpation, Ashok Gupta, Special Secretary (Defence Production) said, "blacklisted companies are not participating but those companies where FIR is registered, CBI inquiry is on, they are particpating".

He later sought to clear the confusion saying the ministry has not stopped anyone from particpating.

Gupta said the Italian firm has "not been blacklisted. Something is going on but they are particpating. There are certain companies which are blacklisted and have not come on their own".

Kumar chipped in saying it was not legal to stop them from participating. "That is not even legal because in particular context (procurements) they are out. That does not mean they can't enter the country or particpate in business events," he said.

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