Amid furore over alleged kickbacks in buying choppers for VVIPs, former Air Chiefs have said the involvement of the Air Force is limited to technical evaluation and it has no role in commercial negotiations of contract.
"A few things I would like to clarify. The IAF is primarily responsible for performance evaluation. We assess the technical requirements and assess the performance of various aircraft and weapon systems and submit our report, which is approved by the Ministry of Defence," former Air Chief Marshal P V Naik told NDTV.
Former Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy said the choppers in question were meant to ferry VVIPs and not for defence purposes and claimed that the procurement process was handled by the Prime Minister's Office and the Special Protection Group.
"This was not a defence procurement, it was a VIP procurement. The VIPs should be answerable and accountable for this. The IAF was only involved in the technical evaluations," Krishnaswamy told Headlines Today.
"The selection process for VIP aircraft and helicopters is handled by the PMO and the SPG. They are the ones who formulate the requirement. In my opinion, the process has several loopholes. Otherwise, such allegations would not have surfaced," he added.
On whether the Rs 3,600 crore deal for acquiring 12 VVIP choppers should be scrapped, Naik said the helicopters were required as early as possible as the current ones in use were over 10 years old.