Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has said there was “101 per cent” political interference in the AgustaWestland helicopters deal, dubbed the ‘VVIP Chopper Scam.’
He also added that: “Antony, who has never acted, acted every time his name came into cloud in this case.”
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar nytimes
“He was fearing that some day the whole issue will come out. It was immediately given to CBI when (former CEO of AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica , Guiseppe) Orsi was arrested. It should have been given to CBI earlier but he did not have the guts,” the minister said.
Taking a jibe at him, Parrikar added:
In an interview to a news agency, he said he never named Congress president Sonia Gandhi as an accused as there is no evidence so far.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi indiawires
The minister said he can name anyone only when he has proof.
“Investigation has to reveal that ; how do you expect the ministry of defence to find out. I do not have the resources to find that out… Police should find that out; it’s the CBI’s job, not mine,” Parrikar said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate are probing the case of corruption in chopper deal.
The multi-crore-rupee AgustaWestland helicopter deal scam came into news after the names of some Congress leaders were said to have figured in the judgment of the Italian court.
Documents reviewed by the Italian court refer to “Signora Gandhi” as “the driving force” in seeking the new helicopters and mention her advisors including Mr Patel and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The CBI has also summoned ex-Chief Of Staff of the Indian Air Force S P Tyagi in connection with its probe in the VVIP choppers scam. He has allegedly reduced the height of the VVIP helicopters so that AgustaWestland could be included in the bids. However, Tyagi had denied any wrongdoing.
Ex IAF Chief SP Tyagi newindianexpress
AgustaWestland was alleged to have paid Rs 375 crore in bribes to secure the Rs 3,700-crore contract to supply 12 AW101 helicopters to the Indian Air Force. The choppers were to fly VVIPs like the president, prime minister and others. Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi was sentenced by the Milan appeals court to 4.5 years in jail for false accounting and corruption in the Chopper scam. Bruno Spagnolini, the former CEO of Finmeccanica’s helicopter subsidiary AgustaWestland, was also handed a four- year prison term by the court.
AgustaWestland helicopters hindustantimes
Parrikar also said that in the Chopper deal, all procedures had been followed, but to benefit one vendor — AgustaWestland.
“The primary indicators of corruption are proved. The exemption is not justifiable, so it is a fraud. Powers exist but powers have to be used with proper justification,” he said.
The contract was signed in 2010. The previous UPA government scrapped the deal in 2013 after Spagnolini and Orsi were arrested on charges of bribing middlemen to secure the deal with the IAF.