VVIP chopper scam: beginning, middle and the end?

India has started the process of cancelling a Rs. 4,000-crore deal for 12 AgustaWestland helicopters because of allegations of corruption.

August 1999

Indian Air Force seeks replacement of Mi-8 helicopters which were completing their technical life.

March 2002

A global tender issued to which four vendors respond, including Agusta Westland. However, only Eurocopter from France found to be suitably fulfilling the requirements.

November 19, 2003

The then principal secretary Brajesh Mishra meets the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, urging him to change the norms to include more bidders. Altitude requirements brought down from 6,000 to 4,500 metres and AgustaWestland joins the fray.

January 3, 2006

Acceptance for the procurement of 12 choppers accorded by the Defence Acquisition Council.

April 2008

Air force headquarters recommends AW-101 choppers by AgustaWestland, finding it to be fully compliant with all requirements.

February 16, 2010

India signs deal with Britain-based AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, to buy 12 AW101 helicopters at a price of $750 million for government transport duties.

February 2013

First reports of wrong doings in the deal appear in Indian media forcing the defence ministry to seeking a factual report from the Indian embassy in Rome.

February12, 2013

Chief executive officer of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi arrested by Italian authorities for his alleged role in arranging bribes to bag the contract. The defence ministry orders a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the corruption allegations. Italian prosecutors accuse three cousins of former

February 13, 2013

Former air chief SP Tyagi claims innocence, saying he retired when the deal was being negotiated and claims it was the NDA govt that asked for changes in the vital technical requirements. Congress, BJP lash out at each other.

February 14, 2013

India warns Finmeccanica of legal action, including blacklisting, over corruption allegations in the chopper deal and asks it whether any slush money was paid to fix the deal.

February 15, 2013

India issues show cause notice to AgustaWestland and asks it to file a reply in seven days. Defence ministry also issues a fresh request to Italy for information on alleged kickbacks in supply of the 12 VVIP helicopters.