Wednesday, May 29, 2024

MoD Suspends Business With Defsys Solutions Amidst AugustaWestland VVIP Chopper Scam Connection; Firm Features In Rafale Controversy Too

By Staff Correspondent

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), on Friday, 9 December 2022, suspended its business dealings with Defsys Solutions Private Limited. This decision concerns the private company’s alleged involvement in the infamous AugustaWestland VVIP Chopper scandal.

It has been learnt that this development considers money laundering and bribery allegations tied to the 2010 defence deal with the British-Italian firm, AugustaWestland, for supplying a dozen VVIP helicopters.

It may be poignant to note that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Indian National Congress, was in power at the central government at the time of this defence procurement scam.

In March 2019, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Sushen Gupta, the owner of Defsys Solutions Pvt Ltd. He was arrested based on the aforementioned money laundering allegations concerning the VVIP chopper scam. Gupta, the accused, was later let out on bail.

The company has featured in yet another defence procurement-related controversy, this time under the current government in power. According to a report published in Mediapart, an independent French investigative online newspaper, Defsys Solutions Pvt Ltd also received a Rupees 8.62 Crore (one million Euros) payment concerning the acquisition of Rafale fighter jets.

Going by the Mediapart report, the French aerospace and defence giant Dassault Aviation could not explain the Rs. 8.62 Crore amount paid to Defsys Solutions when probed by the Agence Francaise Anticorruption (AFA).

Coming back to the decision made by the MoD this Friday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the premier investigating agency in India, informed the defence ministry about its ongoing investigation into Defsys Solutions in connection to the AugustaWestland Chopper case.

All commercial dealings with Defsys Solutions are placed on a one-year suspension until further orders. Six defence companies have been debarred by the Government of India.

According to the circular issued by the MoD on this development, 14 companies have been put on ‘suspension’ and two firms have been placed on ‘restriction.’

Singapore Technologies Kinetic Limited (STK), Israeli Military Industries Ltd (IMI), T.S. Kisan & Co. Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, R.K. Machine Tools Ltd, Ludhiana, Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD), Zurich and Corporation Defence, Russia feature in the list of debarred firms.

Apart from Defsys Solutions, suspended firms include IDS, Tunisia, Infotech Design System (IDS), Mauritius, IDS Infotech Ltd, Mohali, Aeromatrix Info Solution Pvt Ltd, Chandigarh, Shanx Oceaneering, Inter Spiro India Pvt Ltd, Experts Systems, Unitech Enterprises, Kelvin Engineering, Atlas group of companies including Atlas Telecom and Atlas Defence Services, Offset India Solutions (P) Ltd and its group of companies and functionaries, Pilatus Aircraft Ltd, Switzerland, Vectra Advanced Engineering Pvt Ltd (VAEPL).

The list of restricted procurement from firms comprises Rolls Royce and its allied and subsidiary companies and the Czech Republic-based Tatra Trucks.

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