VVIP Chopper Scam
VVIP Chopper Scam

What is meant by Interim Order?

Interim means temporary and ‘order’ as defined under Section 2(14) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 means formal expression of any decision of a Civil Court which is not a decree. Thus, interim order refers to an order passed by the court during pendency of the suit in such court for a temporary period.

Such interim orders are passed by the court in order to ensure equity and justice to all. The idea behind such orders is to protect unnecessary abuse of proceedings and rights of parties between commencement and final decision of the proceedings. It was felt by the makers that such orders are required to be passed to grant relief with a purpose to secure the ends of justice.

Anticipatory Bail and Interim Protection from Arrest

Section 438 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides for ‘Anticipatory Bail’. In India, an individual can file a plea for anticipatory bail where it is anticipated that such individual can be accused for a non-bailable offence in near future.

The rationale behind such provision is to protect individuals from false accusations that may arise due to some personal or professional hatred resulting in criminal charges and to protect individuals from fake charges that may lead to imprisonment.

A person can file a plea regarding Anticipatory Bail in the High Court or Court of sessions, where he has a valid reason of being accused of a non-bailable offence in future under Section 438 of CrPC. The Court shall accept or reject the plea based on the merits of a number of conditions and the nature of the case.

Conditions are as follows:

  • The person shall be available for interrogation at all times as required by the police.
  • The person shall not induce, threat or promise any person who is aware of the facts to dissuade him from disclosing any facts whether directly or indirectly.
  • The person shall not leave India without prior approval from the Court.

If the court is of the view that the individual can be accused of false charges with respect to the case shall grant him Interim protection from arrest. However, such protection shall be cancelled any time, subject to hampering of investigation or violation of any condition. Generally, the court grants bail for 30 days and after the expiry of 30 days a regular bail or application for extension of anticipatory bail or a fresh plea can be filed, as the case maybe.

VVIP CHOPPER CASE

Introduction:

  • Indian Air Force suggested the Prime Minister’s office to look for a modern and a more comfortable replacement of Mi-8 VVIP helicopter fleet in 2000 since Mi-8 were facing technical issues and were not comfortable. Such choppers were to be used for ferrying VVIPs like the President, vice-president, Prime Minister and other diplomats and important persons.
  • Air Chief Marshall decided to keep 4500m flying altitude and 1.8m cabin height as key specifications in 2003.
  • In 2004, Air Chief Marshall SP Tyagi was appointed and the specifications decided were issued to Vendors. 3 companies came forward responding to the issued specifications namely, Mi-172, Sikorsky and AgustaWestland. Meanwhile, Defence Procurement Procedure was put forward requiring the parties to give an undertaking that no bribes shall be paid and no agents must be used in contract where the dealing extends Rs 1 billion.
  • Finally, in 2010, a contract was concluded where AgustaWestland agreed to deliver 12 AW101 helicopters at an estimated cost of 3600cr. In 2012, the first AW101 was delivered followed by two more.

Why is it controversial?

 

  • The controversy over the deal came into light when Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland’s parent) was arrested for bribery by Italian authorities.
  • It was alleged by CBI that Guido Haschke from Italy, Ferdinando Gerosa from Switzerland and Christian Michel from Great Britain were mainly responsible for manipulation of the deal and were paid around Rs 4 billion in the deal.
  • In addition, a number of bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen including former Air Chief Marshall SP Tyagi, Julie Tyagi, Gautam Khaitan and Sonia Gandhi were alleged to be illegally benefitted with an amount over Rs 500 million.
  • The contract was cancelled by UPA Government over the allegations on January 1, 2014. Further, the advance paid was recovered from the manufacturers and a probe was instituted against all the accused middlemen and businessmen.

Ratan Puri, a businessman and nephew of Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath, was also one of the accused in this money laundering case. It was alleged that Ratan Puri received more than $1 million from Christian Michel in furtherance of the deal. Further, the Delhi High Court asked ED to report upon the attachment of properties, along with the values of such properties belonging to Puri under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.

Furthermore, Delhi High Court gave interim protection from arrest to Ratan Puri in furtherance of his anticipatory bail plea.[1]

            This post is written by Prabhjot Kaur. For more info, please dial 99888-17966.

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