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CAG report on AgustaWestland deal in Parliament, UPA braces for BJP assault

The CAG report on the controversial AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal was today placed in Parliament putting the ruling UPA again in the dock yet again.

"CAG report has proved the loot in the AgustaWestland deal," senior BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy told CNN-IBN.

Controversial chopper deal? Reuters

Controversial chopper deal? Reuters

In its report, that was prepared while Vinod Rai was heading the audit directorate, the CAG said that the deal violated stipulated norms that are associated with a regular defence transaction.

"Defence Ministry deviated from procurement procedure and
tender on several instances in the deal," the CAG said. "There were violations of Defence Procurement Procedure in the contract for 12 choppers in the nearly Rs 3727 crore deal," the government auditor said.

According to CNN-IBN, the report said that the choppers could not be evaluated in 2002 and the acquisition process was inordinately delayed.

Expressing unhappiness over the fact that the field evaluation trials were conducted abroad, the auditing body said although the IAF faced disadvantage due to ageing helicopters there was no real basis for procuring the choppers keeping an eye on the cost.

"The benchmarked cost of Rs 4,871.5 crore for AgustaWestland
VVIP helicopters was unreasonably high compared to the offered
cost of Rs 3,966 crore," the CAG said in its report.

The CAG report raised questions about why the field trials were held outside the country despite the defence ministry rejecting such a proposal twice. The decision for trial abroad was allegedly taken in 2007 by the then Indian Air Force chief.

The report on the Rs 3,600 crore deal for 12 VVIP choppers was finalised during the tenure of former CAG Vinod Rai and was submitted on 25 April, over a month before incumbent Shashi Kant Sharma took over.

With PTI input