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AgustaWestland Chopper deal: Parrikar accuses UPA of violating norms; Take action, says Cong
Wednesday May 4, 2016 11:24 PM, Agencies


New Delhi:
Alleging that the procurement process in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal was violated, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said that the former UPA regime had created 'single-vendor situation' to benefit from the same.

"Italian court has proof that there was 'malafide intent' and there was corruption in matter is brought out in extensive details in judgements of a Milan court. The country wants to know who benefitted from the deal," Parrikar asked to the Congress.

"The Italian court has said there are omissions at many stages and the deal was cancelled by the government after the CAG advice," he said in the Rajya Sabha.

"Why field evaluation trials were conducted outside India. Field trial in India was extremely important because topographical conditions here (in India) differ from that of in the U.S. and the U.K.," he added.

Parrikar further said the UPA regime tried to take the longer route of writing to the embassy and the court etc. instead of taking action against the company.

As soon as Parrikar concluded his speech, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Defence Minister's speech is full of allegations.

Countering BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, former defence minister A.K. Antony earlier said take action if you have evidence, but don't threaten and blackmail us.

"Don't try to politicise this issue. You will have to repent later. After the first report in media on alleged scam in helicopter deal, we acted immediately," Antony said.

Antony said the decision to change the height of choppers was taken by then PMO and the NDA government.

"We blacklisted six companies in one go. This sent out a message that we do not tolerate corruption," he said.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel earlier dared the government to investigate the matter and come up with truth.

"If you find an iota of truth in these claims, I will quit politics and my public life," he said.

Swamy earlier said the people, who lowered the specifications of height of choppers were not from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), adding the Italian High Court's judgement clearly mentions the role of Congress leaders.

"The judgment described 'AP' as the political secretary. Don't we know who that is?" he asked.

Swamy, who was speaking in the Rajya Sabha, said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has full right to interrogate the 'driving force' behind the VVIP chopper deal as mentioned in accused Michel's letter.

Asking former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to clarify as to whose orders did he follow, Swamy said, "There were businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats involved. Italian records have mentioned full name."

He further sought to know as to why the UPA had the field testing done by other helicopter.

"There was a clear effort to eliminate all other companies so that only Agusta would fit the required criteria," he alleged.

The Agusta deal was signed in 2010 and was cancelled in 2014, after the allegations of corruption surfaced.


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