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Fresh probe into graft charges in chopper deal

HYDERABAD : 05/03/2010 : Agusta Westland Helicopter, on display at 2nd International Exhibition & Conference on Civil Aviation India Aviation-2010 in Hyderabad on Friday. PHOTO: K. RAMESH BABU   | Photo Credit: K_RAMESH BABU

The government on Wednesday ordered a fresh probe into the allegations of malpractices in procurement of 12 helicopters for the VVIP Communication Squadrons of the Indian Air Force from the Italian firm AgustaWestland.

“Any such complaint or allegation received will be investigated and the contractual provisions will be invoked, in case any wrongdoing is established, in addition to action that may be required under law,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier, replying to a question by reporters on the issue outside the Parliament House, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said he would “seriously” pursue the inquiry into the allegations of corruption in the chopper deal.

“I can assure you I will seriously pursue the inquiry,” he said.

“When previously the reports appeared, I had asked the Defence Secretary to immediately inquire into it. He wrote to the Indian Ambassador in Italy and he got the report,” Mr. Antony said.

According to a media report, Italy is probing allegations that helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland paid a commission of over Rs. 350 crore to a Switzerland-based consultant for a deal to sell choppers to India.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 5:04:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/fresh-probe-into-graft-charges-in-chopper-deal/article3352437.ece

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