Guilty won’t be spared: Antony

Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday said nobody would be spared if found guilty at any stage of CBI inquiry into allegations of bribery in the Rs. 3,700- crore VVIP helicopter deal.

“Everything depends on the CBI inquiry; future action will examine all possibilities. No option is closed, we will pursue all options,’’ he said at a press conference. The action included blacklisting the company and even cancellation of the deal, he noted.

The scandal involves Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, whose subsidiary AgustaWestland bagged the deal in February 2010 for supplying a dozen choppers to India.

Meanwhile, the former Indian Air Force Chief, SP Tyagi, has pleaded innocence. He told reporters the deal was signed three years after his retirement. He headed the IAF from 2004 to 2007. “I am innocent. These allegations are totally baseless and I am denying them categorically. The deal was signed in 2010 whereas I retired in 2007 itself.”

Asked if he changed any specifications for the contract to favour Finmeccanica, he said the qualitative requirements for the choppers were frozen in 2003, much before he assumed office, and the IAF did not change any requirements after that.

The Minister said he cannot respond to reports in Italy that the former IAF Chief Tyagi is linked to the controversy. “I have no information on this. Unless I get some information, we cannot take names,’’ he said.

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 11:55:03 AM |

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