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Updated: February 16, 2013 13:44 IST

Khurshid asks Opposition not to politicise chopper deal issue

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External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said that all procedures were “strictly followed” by the UPA government in the controversial VVIP chopper deal. File photo
The Hindu External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said that all procedures were “strictly followed” by the UPA government in the controversial VVIP chopper deal. File photo

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said that all procedures were “strictly followed” by the UPA government in the controversial VVIP chopper deal and the matter should not be politicised.

“I don’t think it is right to politicise the issue. It is a matter of national interest. All procedures were strictly followed by the government,” he told Indian journalists accompanying him on a two-day visit to Bangladesh.

Asked whether steps were being taken to cancel the deal with AugustaWestland for delivery of helicopters, he said, “the government has issued a show-cause notice to them. There are procedures involved which have to be followed.”

To a question on the names of top dignitaries coming up in the matter like the President or Governors, Mr. Khurshid said “I don’t think there could have been better and tighter compliance of procedures in the matter. We shouldn’t involve them at all.”

He asked all political parties, including the Opposition, “not to get distracted from the core issue. The core issue is to get to the bottom of the facts.”

On whether the matter would come up during the upcoming visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr. Khurshid said the issue was not on the agenda, but it could come up as it has come up only recently.

Asked why didn’t the government react to the scandal earlier, Mr. Khurshid said, “we attempted to get details but there were procedural issues and therefore, there was paucity of information. Now that the investigations (in Italy) have reached the stage for making an arrest, that is indicative of the seriousness.”

In February 2010, India had inked Rs 3,600 crore deal to acquire the 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters from AgustaWestland for IAF’s elite Communication Squadron, which ferries the President, PM and other VVIPs.

With the scam unfolding in the deal, the delivery of three helicopters from AgustaWestland scheduled for next month has been put on hold along with the remaining six which were to arrive later.

India has already received three of the 12 helicopters.

A CBI team is also being sent to Italy where the CEOs of AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica have been arrested on charges of bribery.

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Why aren't these VVIPs using the indigenous "20 years into development"
Advanced Light Helicopter? From a security standpoint doesn't it make
sense for our great leaders to use in-house aircraft. Oh right, the
DHRUV is too pedestrian for our Netas or they are afraid to put their
faith in Indian technology.

from:  Rahul Garg
Posted on: Feb 17, 2013 at 18:54 IST

When Congress defame BJP by Hindu Terror remark and compromise on national security, then they don't feel that they shouldn't politicize that? They do that without any proven evidences just for their dirty vote bank policy. But when BJP does, when there are solid proofs, they say don't do it? Shameless people!

from:  Rajesh Kalra
Posted on: Feb 17, 2013 at 09:04 IST

What Khurshid wants to convey to the MPs is that as many as possible will get a chance to be deputed to Italy to gather information irrespective of party affiliation.He doesn't want to be crowded or pressured because finalising a list impartially will take time.If everyone cooperates in the final closure of the Chopper File,many can be accommodated till the next chance comes
for another big defence contract where those left out will have their Trip..

from:  Raj Kumar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2013 at 04:57 IST

Shame on congress politics. Mr.Khurshid slyly tells all of us that Matters of national interest are matters of money.

from:  Harish Kumar H S
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 21:18 IST

First the government ministers never care to inform the voters as to
what they intend to do with tax payers' money. If there had been a
referendum Indian public would have advised government to stick to
governing and not to indulge in any business. Second, they now want
the opposition party to behave as dictated by the Ministers. The
opposition, even if they do not care for the tax payers, at least for
their own benefit would take up any issue in the appropriate manner
and place. We will meet you(rather UPA) during the voting in 2014, Mr.
Khurshid! Till then enjoy your position.

from:  mvrangaraajan
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 19:07 IST

I think it is the duty of the opposition in a democracy to point out irregularities.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 17:55 IST

no wonder External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid always required core
issue? we are fed-up with corruption in congress led governments. they
always have some technical issues when it comes to them. we simply do
not except your views. Infact we do not have belief any more in
government's ability to take our country forward. do what you like to do
we even do not ask anything from you. it's our fault to ask from this
corrupt family and organisation for betterment. sir with due respect i
want to say you are a failure. thanks.

from:  shivraj singh
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 15:47 IST

Chopper issue should be politicised. Why are you getting afraid of
chopper getting politicised? PM politicised the protest against
Koodankulam Nuclear Plant as if it is supported by Foreign NGOS
inspite of the agitation fully supported by the people who are
agitating? PM asked CM of Tamilnadu to file the cases against the non-
violent agitators and about 20000 cases have been filed against the
innocent women and men.Some of them are under sedition charges. The
ruling class with police and army can do this but the victims cannot
even protest in a non-violent way. Corruption by anybody is
corruption. Let it be exposed more and more. Why are you getting
afraid? CAG should find out the corruption in Koodankulam nuclear
plants, and in all the nuclear plants and atomic energy

from:  Thomas Kocherry
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 15:40 IST

How appropriate, don't politicise corruption issues concerning the government in power, also this from a minister who should have been thoroughly investigated for siphoning off funds meant for the disabled and poor in a city in UP. But of course as he is a member of the current Congress govt, he has been rewarded with the foreign ministry role.

from:  Vida
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 14:45 IST

Can you please stop corruption so that others stop politicizing ?

from:  Narsing
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 14:25 IST

Minister's suggestion is to forget ChopperScam as bad dream. His remarks does not
deserve him to be india's External Affairs Minister. People should not forget that he was
given the external affairs Ministery when it was emerged that he & his wife were engaged in
embezzling public money meant to spend on disabled people

from:  Tarsem
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 14:18 IST

Not a single asctivity of this government takes palce without some
element of corruption or mismanagement. If govt. raises this red-rag
of not politicising such isues, it means theya re tryign to get out of
the mess they are in. Opposition parties will ahve to discharge their
duteis effectively by putting the government on the mat on every such
mismanagemtn, right from CWG, arms daeals and the massive loan meal to
KF. The forthcoming budget sesssion should see intense asctivity byt
eh nopposition paties in demanding political accoutnability and
official responsibility. I

from:  s subramanyan
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 13:55 IST

The core issue Mr Khurshid is - that the crooks and criminals in public office never get punished. Never go to jail. Never serve jail terms. Have their cases in legal cold storage for decades. The system is corrupted to the core.

from:  Anand
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 13:54 IST

Mr Khurshid, your compliance of strict procedures and protocols have thrown open a can of worms and the can was opened by a foreign government. They are punishing people who paid the bribes, here you are trying to protect the people who took the bribes. The Governemnt will try to delay an outcome citing diplomatic compulsions ( Bofors revisited) and in the end the country will be done in by incompetency and corruption.
Let the political parties take up this issue in the Parliament, in the streets and force the Government to name and punish the people who are involved without delay.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Feb 16, 2013 at 13:53 IST
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