January 09, 2019:
On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court agreed to hear a petition filed by the Defence Ministry seeking a permanent injunction order to restrain AgustaWestland from continuing with the arbitration process due to the ongoing criminal cases before the trial court.
Justice Pratibha M Singh aksed AgustaWestland International Limited and the Defence Ministry to file their affidavits within 5 weeks. The case will be heard by the Delhi High Court on Feb 28.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand, appearing for the Defence Ministry, told the court that there were several criminal proceedings going on against AgustaWestland due to which arbitration proceedings cannot be allowed to go on.
The ministry submitted that Christian Michel, alleged middleman in the case, was recently arrested and an investigation was on.
Agusta had invoked the arbitration process after the Govt. cancelled the scam-tainted helicopter deal in 2014.
The company contends that the Defence Ministry cannot unilaterally freeze payments in the ₹3,600-crore deal.
India had already paid 30% of the amount. The Govt. had then refused to be drawn into the arbitration process but decided to participate in it in Jan 2014.