NEW DELHI: India will appeal a decision by an Italian court to reject New Delhi’s request to recover $387 million in bank guarantees in a scrapped helicopter deal, the defense ministry said Tuesday.
India had canceled the deal with the Italian-owned AgustaWestland in January to buy 12 luxury helicopters amid allegations that the company paid bribes to win the 556-million-euro ($753 million) contract.
On Monday, a court in Milan ruled in favor of AgustaWestland, preventing India from encashing guarantees of more than 278 million euros ($387 million), a statement from Agustawestland’s parent company Finmeccanica said.
“The government of India will be filing an appeal against the order of the Italian court in Milan,” Defense Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said in a statement.
“Simultaneously, the government will vigorously pursue all options for encashment of the bank guarantees,” Kar said.
Italian prosecutors suspect that kickbacks worth around $68 million, amounting to around 10 percent of the deal, were paid to Indian officials to steer the contract to AgustaWestland. The company has denied any wrongdoing.
A former Indian Air Force chief, S.P. Tyagi, is one of several people facing charges in India over his involvement in the deal.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation filed charges last year under corruption prevention laws against Tyagi, three of his cousins and officials of four defense companies after an investigation found that large bribes were paid to secure the contract.