India has cleared an Italian helicopter deal worth nearly one billion U.S. dollars, sources said Saturday.
"The Indian Defense Ministry has given a go-ahead to the deal to acquire 12 Italian-made choppers from Finmenicca which was earlier shrouded in allegations of bribery and wrongdoing. Now, the deal has been finally approved," the sources said.
The deal was cleared after the Indian Embassy in Rome gave a clean chit to the company following an internal probe, they said.
Under the deal, the Italian manufacturer will supply 12 helicopters to fly the Indian President, Prime Minister and other important dignitaries. "The choppers will arrive in India in January next year," the sources added.
The 12 new choppers will gradually replace the ageing Russian- made Mi-8 helicopters that are nearing completion of their life.