The Delhi High Court on Wednesday 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 five weeks. The case will be heard by the Delhi High Court on February 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 government cancelled the scam-tainted helicopter deal in 2014. The company contends that the Defence Ministry cannot unilaterally freeze payments in the Rs 3,600-crore deal.
India had already paid 30 per cent of the amount. The government had then refused to be drawn into the arbitration process but decided to participate in it in January 2014.