The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Chhattisgarh government to produce original documents related to the purchase of an AugustaWestland helicopter in 2007, ANI reported. A petition had claimed that the helicopter company had paid commissions for the deal.
The state government has one week to submit the documents and to explain why a global tender for only AgustaWestland choppers was floated, The Times of India reported.
“Why was the [civil aviation] chief secretary’s suggestion to look beyond AgustaWestland helicopter overshadowed by the state government?” the bench asked. “Was this an informed decision?”
In May 2016, Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav had first alleged that the state had paid kickbacks of $1.57 million (Rs 10.2 crore) to procure the helicopter. Abhishek Singh, the son of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, was alleged to have formed a shell company for the purpose.
The petition alleged: “It was fraudulent tender and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party paid hefty commission for the purchase of one chopper in 2007. The tender rules were seriously bypassed.”
The deal came three years before the other scam related to AgustaWestland, in which the Italian company allegedly gave kickbacks for a favourable outcome in 2010, when the United Progressive Alliance government was in power.