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Defence Ministry Halts Deals With Defsys For 6 Months

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Following its involvement in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter case and CBI inquiry, the MoD banned Defsys Solutions for six months after a previous ban in 2022.

The Defence Ministry of India has suspended all business interactions with private manufacturer Defsys Solutions Private Limited due to the company’s involvement in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter corruption case, which the Central Bureau of Investigation is investigating.

The Delhi NCR-based company, which produces fighter aircraft pylons, fuel tanks, and defence electronics, has been barred from dealings with the MoD and its entities for six months.

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The ministry has directed all departments to enforce the suspension order, citing a clause that mandates halting dealings if the CBI or other agencies initiate a criminal investigation.

Defsys was initially banned by the ministry in 2022 due to its suspected role in the helicopter scandal but sought relief through the courts.

Sushen Gupta, owner of Defsys Solutions, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in March 2019 on money laundering charges related to the helicopter scandal. He was subsequently released on bail.

The CBI recently informed that former director Sushen Gupta was involved in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal and issued two notices to Defsys.

During the high court trial, the MoD previously could not provide sufficient documents to justify suspending dealings with Defsys Solutions, which benefitted the accused firm. The court was compelled to set aside the proceedings.

However the court also ruled that the MoD can suspend or ban Defsys Solutions based on evidence from the ongoing AgustaWestland investigation as long as it follows legal guidelines.

The case involves bribery and money laundering accusations related to a 2010 deal with a British-Italian firm supplying 12 VVIP helicopters to India.

In April 2021, the French journal Mediapart reported that Defsys Solutions received one million euros related to the Rafale jet deal, a payment Dassault Aviation could not clarify. In 2022 the MoD had blacklisted Defsys Solutions for a year or until further notice, following CBI inputs on their involvement in the AgustaWestland case.

Since 2016, the Union government toughened its blacklisting policy to address corruption, with stricter penalties for firms violating rules related to security, compliance, or ethics.

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