Rejecting charges that it was not proactive in probing allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3600 crore VVIP chopper deal, Government on Wednesday said it would act only according to the law and not to please the Opposition in this case.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also dismissed suggestions that the alleged scam was “Bofors-Part II” saying the Opposition should understand that most of the allegations in the Bofors case were rejected by the Supreme Court.
He also said that India was in touch with authorities in Italy over the case and suggested that Italy was a better place to probe since the firm that produces choppers operates out of that country.
“Well, if someone is probing, let them probe it. Should you have your own probe when someone else is probing which is probably better place to probe because that is where the production takes place and that is where the offices are. We obviously remained in touch with them and expected that they would keep us informed at an appropriate stage (and give information) that we will use it,” he said in response to a question on why India did not probe the alleged scam.
Asked whether he suggests that India will not pro-actively probe the case, he said there was nothing called pro-active.
“There is such a thing as lawful. Whatever has to be done by law should be done and I don’t think that we should do anything that is done to please the Opposition or because somebody puts pressure on us. What is lawfully required and what is lawfully justified is what will be done,” he said.
Mr. Khurshid also said the Government will assist the CBI either directly or through courts in this case.
“The lawful position and lawful action to be taken will be taken,” he said.
On Opposition allegation that it is Bofors——Part II, he asked the parties to provide him “the final conclusions of the Bofors case and then I would say you are right“.
“Clearly many of the allegations were finally thrown out of court not by one jurisdiction but several jurisdiction.Now you cannot now take your own failure on the basis of arguing that your next step will be a successful one,” he said.
The head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company that is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs 362 crore in India to get orders for helicopters to ferry Indian VVIPs was arrested yesterday.
The Ministry of Defence also decided to put on hold the receipt of the remaining nine of the 12 helicopters for which the Rs 3600 crore deal was struck in 2010.