Wednesday, May 04, 2016
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Agusta probe will focus on those named by Italy court, says ParrikarDefence Minister Manohar Parikkar speaks in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI photo/TV grab

Agusta probe will focus on those named by Italy court, says Parrikar

Defence Minister presents chopper deal sequence, Sonia 'welcomes revelations'04 May 2016 | 7:33 PM

NEW DELHI: Despite stiff opposition from the Congress, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said the country wants to know as to who instigated, supported and benefited from corruption in the AgustaWestland scam. “We can't let this pass,” he told the Rajya Sabha.

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New Delhi, May 4

Despite stiff opposition from the Congress, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said the country wants to know as to who instigated, supported and benefited from corruption in the AgustaWestland scam. “We can't let this pass,” he told the Rajya Sabha.

Participating in a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the VVIP chopper deal, Parrikar said the fact that there was corruption in the matter is brought out in extensive details in recent judgments of Milan court. The inquiry will focus on roles of those named in the judgement of Italian court, he said.

Earlier, the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Upper House that he only wanted to provide sequence of the events in connection with corruption in the Rs 3,600-crore sale of 12 VVIP choppers to India.

“This matter is not of today, this pertains to year 2002. I just wanted to inform the House, the chronological order of events, without any comments on them, so that the House is aware of when it took place and what happened,” Parrikar said.

“Whether they want or don't want, it is for them (Congress),” he added amid uproar in the Upper House.

“Why did UPA not initiate an investigation into who all took bribes in the corruption scam matter,” BJP MP Bhupender Yadav said as the debate began.

Congress MP Abhishekh Manu Singhvi defended the Congress and called the BJP’s claims “sensationalism”.

“Here is an insecure ruling party trying to foist a charge of corruption on persons unconnected to the case. We need to have more sense than sensationalism,” Singhvi said.

“Do we have to now rely on distortions of Italian Court judgements? Just because you have in-built hatred for certain names doesn't mean they could l be put in place for initials used (in the judgement),” Singhvi said.

“This fixation with finger-pointing at one person, doesn't that affect investigations? Don’t think you can intimidate us,” Singhvi said.

“The company, AgustaWestland, had been allowed to participate in aero displays in Bengaluru in 2015, he said.

“In 1999, the IAF made a suggestion to replace MI8 VVIP helicopters. Vajpayee’s government was in power at that time,” he said.

JD (U), the Congress’s ally in Bihar, wondered why the central government was stalling Parliament when it had investigation agencies at its disposal.

“There’s no need to make false accusations. Accusations need corroboration, else it simply defames people for no reason,” Yadav said. “There are so many more important issues going on in the nation. They are the ones that should be discussed in the House.”

BSP president Mayawati, however, demanded an investigation monitored by the Supreme Court.

“They are most welcome,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on BJP’s “revelations” earlier in the day.

Parrikar, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, had earlier on Monday said that his address in the Parliament would include how and when necessary clauses or provisions were relaxed to suit the company.

Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, has accused the Centre of pursuing a politically motivated campaign to defame the grand old party through the AgustaWestland scam. — Agencies

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