Parrikar questions Congress defence of AgustaWestland deal

Will focus on the role of those named in the judgement of the Italian court, says Manohar Parrikar.

New Delhi: The much-awaited reply of defence minister Manohar Parrikar to the four-hour-long debate on the controversial Agusta-Westland VVIP helicopter deal was delivered amid a huge ruckus in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, leading to a Congress walkout over its demand to set up a time-bound Supreme Court-monitored CBI inquiry into the alleged bribery scandal.

Mr Parrikar, who responded with a 40-minute response, often read out from copious notes including a CAG report on the deal, and made it clear the government probe “will focus on the role of those named in the judgement of the Italian court”.

Agustawestland deadl (Infographics)Agustawestland deadl (Infographics)

Earlier, former defence minister A.K. Antony, admitting “it is proved beyond a doubt there was corruption in the helicopter deal”, asked the government to act immediately but “not threaten or try to blackmail”.

It was a no-holds-barred reply by Mr Parrikar, who is known not to hold back his punches. With his voice, for the most part, being drowned and often disrupted amid the din by the Congress, an unflappable Mr Parrikar pointed to the role of an “invisible hand” in preventing a proper investigation in the earlier stages.

The defence minister said the CBI had registered a case on March 12, 2013 but did not bother to forward a copy of the FIR to the ED for nine months. Later, the ED didn't act on the FIR till July 2014, he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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