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Uncertainty looms over another helicopter deal.

AFTER the cancellation of VVIP helicopter contract, another defence procurement plan for the Army aviation is on the verge of being scrapped after the CBI registered a case against a brigadier for wrongdoings in trials.

The case has been registered against brigadier V. S. Saini and unknown officers of the Army and defence ministry for discrepancies in trials of helicopters competing for the contract to purchase 197 light utility helicopters.

The brigadier's name had cropped up in the scandal after Italian prosecutors found papers related to the helicopter deal while they were in the trail of middleman Guido Haschke who is main accused in the VVIP helicopter corruption case.

The defence ministry had ordered probe after the brigadiers name had come to light and referred the case to CBI. The purchase of 197 helicopters was put on hold because of the allegations of wrongdoings in the trials and a case was registered after fresh set of documents were received from the Italian police, officials said.

Brigadier Saini was part of the team that carried trials of the helicopters competing for the contract. The purchase was part of the plan to replace ageing Cheetah and Chetak fleet of army aviation.

The acquisition of 197 helicopters has been jinxed as it has been cancelled once before in December 2007 as well just before it was on the final stages. The cancellation would be a setback for army as it urgently requires replacement of the ageing fleet.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 5, 2014
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