Monday 22 July 2019, 07:15 PM
India non-committal on chopper deal talks with British PM
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 2/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
India non-committal on chopper deal talks with British PM

New Delhi : India Monday remained non-committal on whether the alleged corruption in the VVIP chopper deal would be on the agenda for talks with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron here.

"I have no idea. I have not looked at the agenda. I know what the agenda was a week ago but I don''t know if there is a revised agenda," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

"I would think one prepared the agenda much in advance. You cannot take any visiting dignitary by surprise. There are many levels at which these investigations are taking place. It is only in due course that it reaches the highest level. I am not sure of the agenda," he said.

Cameron arrived in India Monday on a three-day visit.

On the investigations into the alleged scam, Khurshid said: "Even now we are not being able to get concrete material from the Italians on where matter has proceeded and arrests have been made."

"They (Italian government) haven''t indicated anything and according to their rules, they cannot share anything with us. It is a little premature to jump to conclusions on what we can get and from where," he added.

"We have sent teams to Italy. They will return with information which we can analyse and comment on," he said.

The CBI is probing allegations of kickbacks in the $750 million (Rs.3,600 crore) deal for 12 AgustaWestland AW101 choppers from Italy for the Indian Air Force''s elite Communication Squadron, which ferries the president, the prime minister and other VVIPs.

The defence ministry Friday initiated action for cancellation of the contract. It also issued a formal show cause notice to AgustaWestland, a Britain-based subsidiary of Italian firm Finmeccanica.

AgustaWestland has been given a week to explain why the contract should not be cancelled.

Ready for any discussion on chopper deal: PM

New Delhi : The government was "ready for any discussion" on the VVIP chopper deal in parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday.

"Parliament is the appropriate forum to discuss all issues raised by the opposition. We are ready for any discussion," the prime minister told reporters at an event here when asked about the opposition threat to disrupt parliament over the VVIP chopper deal.

"We have nothing to hide," he added.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has compared the $750 million scandal to the Bofors gun scam and said they would raise the matter in parliament, during the budget session beginning Feb 21.

The opposition has also demanded that the matter be fully probed by either a special team or under the monitoring of the Supreme Court.

A controversy has risen following alleged corruption in the February 2010 deal to acquire 12 AW101 helicopters from Finmeccanica''s subsidiary AgustaWestland for the Indian Air Force''s elite Communication Squadron, which ferries the president, prime minister and other VVIPs.

The defence ministry Friday initiated action for cancellation of the contract. It also issued a formal show-cause notice to the Britain-based subsidiary of Finmeccanica to explain within a week why the contract should not be cancelled.

The matter came to light when Italian agencies arrested Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi for alleged corruption to seal the deal last week.

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Ready for any discussion on chopper deal: PM

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