Defence Minister AK Antony has said that the government will not hesitate to blacklist companies and cancel defence contracts in relation to the chopper scam, but reiterated that action could only be taken after the CBI completed an investigation into the incident.
"We dont care who the companies are, how powerful. The moment we get the CBI report we will take strong action. They must pay the price", said Antony. He added that according to the integrity pacts signed between the defence ministry and companies for contracts of over Rs 300 crore, the Indian government had the right to claim back all the money it spent, in situations like this.
The Indian government is scheduled to buy 12 VVIP helicopters from Italian defence group Finmeccanica.
Antony however, refused to comment on revelations that former Air force chief SP Tyagi had been involved in the scam. Ex-Airforce chief SP Tyagi has been formally named by Italian investigators as one of those to whom Finmeccanica, the parent company of Agusta Westland, paid bribes to swing the deal in favour of the company.
However Antony said he had no information on the revelations, adding that he had been trying to get a response from Italian authorities, but had not received any answers so far.