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Updated: February 14, 2013 02:15 IST

Chopper deal has makings of a second Bofors scam, says BJP

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Though BJP did not spell out its strategy on the issue, Mr. Prasad said the party will raise this matter strongly inside and outside Parliament. File photo: PTI
Though BJP did not spell out its strategy on the issue, Mr. Prasad said the party will raise this matter strongly inside and outside Parliament. File photo: PTI

The Opposition has criticised the government for the delay in ordering an inquiry into the charges of bribery in the Rs. 3,600-crore helicopter deal with Italian defence group Finmeccanica SpA, whose head was arrested in Milan on Monday as part of a probe into international corruption.

While the BJP asked the government to review it and suspend fresh supply of helicopters, the Left demanded that the deal be scrapped.

Describing the deal as one having the “makings of a second Bofors scam,” BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the inexplicable delay on the part of Defence Minister A.K. Antony in ordering a probe suggested that someone was trying to shield someone.

He said the BJP would raise the issue in and outside Parliament and seek an explanation from the Prime Minister, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Antony. “This deal raises a serious question. There was one gentleman Ottavio Quattrochhi from Italy, who was involved in the Bofors scam. Several attempts were made to protect him. This helicopter company is also from Italy. Was this a factor in no probe being done… for the past one year,” he asked.

Mr. Prasad argued that the government should have summoned the Italian Ambassador to discuss the reports of financial irregularities in the 2010 contract to buy 12 helicopters from AugustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica. “Why did not Antony write to the Italian Defence Minister or send a delegation to Italy to get more details?”

The BJP alleged that Mr. Antony had made an incorrect statement in Parliament: answering a question from BJP MP Prakash Javadekar, he had said that at the request of his Ministry, the External Affairs Ministry had taken up the matter with the Italian and U.K. governments to get further details.

On the statement made by the former Air Chief, S.P. Tyagi, that the controversial changes in the deal were made during the NDA regime, Mr. Prasad said: “Mr. Tyagi’s comments should be taken with a pinch of salt. His role should be probed. His relatives are reported to be involved.”

Demanding that the contract be scrapped, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said it would seek the government’s response in the budget session of Parliament.

“The contract… should be cancelled. The CBI investigations should be supervised by the Supreme Court and only then will the people have the confidence that we will get to the bottom of this affair. It is clear that the UPA government has failed to check high-level corruption in defence contracts in the past eight years of its tenure. The helicopter deal is the latest,” the party said in a statement.

CPI secretary D. Raja wanted the contract scrapped, pointing out that Mr. Antony had himself said companies were liable to be prosecuted and blacklisted for lapses.

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"BJP charged that it is only after the arrest of Finmeccanica Chief
Giuseppe Orsi that the Indian government took note of the anomalies in
the chopper deal." And the opposition also woke up just after the
arrest. Now they want to make hay!

from:  Dr. Ramanathan
Posted on: Feb 13, 2013 at 16:34 IST

When the political leadership is corrupt and weak, all the other arms take cue from the leaders and the Country is done in. Bofors, 2G, Coalgate, CWG and now the new Italian Connection. This is only at the Federal Level. If we go state wise, there scams galore.
Added to that we have accused and under trails trying to buy the prosecutors.
The best part is that nobody knows as to who is running the country, The Prime Minster or the UPA chaiperson. Such a confusion is heaven sent for smaller fishes to thrive.

If only the Government has applied its collective mind to Governing than to scams and covering them up, the country could have seen progress in all fronts.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Feb 13, 2013 at 15:09 IST

Anthony's credentials seem to have been hyped by Congress and has now
fallen flat. None of the previous investigation results have been made
public although every time he promises strong action. Now VK Singh
stands vindicated.
As the election approaches, now it is scam a day. This Congress led
UPA under the chairmanship of Sonia Gandhi and Prime minister of MMS,
has broken all records of corruption scams. In any western countries
the PM would have resigned long back. But our PM has neither any
accountability nor any self-respect. He said he would take sanyas once
the Coalgate involvement is exposed, but kept silent since then.

from:  Bagota
Posted on: Feb 13, 2013 at 15:02 IST
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