New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Wednesday agreed to hear a petition by the defence ministry against the arbitration proceedings in the AgustaWestland case.

The Ministry of Defence alleged before the court that there are several criminal proceedings going on against AgustaWestland, and hence, arbitration proceedings cannot be allowed to go on.

The Delhi high court has said that the issue requires further consideration by the court. It has also asked both parties to file their affidavits on the issue within a span of five weeks.

The case will be heard by the Delhi High Court on February 28.

The arbitral tribunal asked to rule on the ongoing proceedings (whether the arbitral proceedings should continue or not) after receiving the Delhi HC order.

Agusta had called on the arbitration process after the government cancelled the VVIP chopper deal in 2014. They asserted that the defence ministry cannot unilaterally freeze payments in the Rs 3,600-crore deal.

What is the AgustaWestland scam?

The alleged scam in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters for the Air Force came into light after a middleman was allegedly arrested in Italy by the prosecutors there. It was said that competitors of the Italian firm AgustaWestland were chucked out of the tender process to ensure that they bag the Rs 3,600 crore contract. It also came out that Rs 360 crore were paid to different agents to swing the deal to the Italians. The main alleged middleman Christen Michel has been extradited from the UAE last year.