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Manohar Parrikar on AgustaWestland probe: Invincible hand guided action or inaction

During the discussion on the AgustaWestland deal, an angry Congress repeatedly clashed with the ruling BJP and later staged a walkout.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | New Delhi | Updated: May 5, 2016 11:38 am
agustawestland, manohar parrikar, congress, a k antony, agustawestland probe, agustawestland investigation, parrikar, parrikar in parliament, parliament news, india news Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar outside the Parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday after a discussion on the alleged scam in the AgustaWestland deal. (PTI Photo)

The political firestorm over alleged payoffs in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal intensified Wednesday when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar targeted the Congress leadership, saying “it appears that an invincible hand was guiding the action or inaction of CBI and ED… the country wants to know who instigated, who supported and who benefited from the corruption… we cannot let this pass”.

An angry Congress, which repeatedly clashed with the ruling party during a short-duration discussion in Rajya Sabha on the helicopter deal, later staged a walkout after its demand for a Supreme Court-monitored probe was rejected by the government.

WATCH VIDEO| Manohar Parrikar: Invisible Hand Guided Action Or Inaction in AgustaWestland Probe

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A K Antony, who was the UPA Defence Minister, took on the government saying “complete the cases, blacklist the company, take strongest action against whoever has taken money… if you have evidence, take action, prosecute, but don’t threaten us”.

He said he had immediately acted after allegations of corruption surfaced in 2012. He also claimed it was the Vajpayee government which had taken all “major” decisions, including those on the parameters of cabin height and flying altitude of the helicopters.

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Replying to the discussion, Parrikar said: “A litany of omissions and commissions at various stages of the decision-making process indicates mala fide and corrupt actions, driven by the goal to favour a particular vendor… the Italy court has said there are omissions in various stages of decision-making. The fact that corruption has occurred has been brought out in extensive details in the recent judgment of the Italy court.”

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“As far as the investigation by the CBI and ED is concerned, it is strange that the CBI which registered an FIR in the matter on 12th March, 2013, based on the reference made by the Ministry of Defence on 12th February, 2013, did not bother to forward a copy of the FIR to Enforcement Directorate for nine months… Even more strangely, the Enforcement Directorate did not act on the FIR until July 2014 (after the exit of the UPA),” he said.

Earlier, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy demanded recording of a statement from former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This time, he did not name Sonia Gandhi but his remarks alluding to the Congress leadership drew repeated protests from the main Opposition party.

Ahmed Patel of the Congress, who finds himself at the centre of the row because of the initials ‘AP’ on a hand-written note cited in the Milan court judgment, also sought a probe. He declared he would quit Rajya Sabha and public life if any wrongdoing on his part was established.

Objecting to Parrikar reading from a prepared statement in his reply, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said this was an “insult” and the minister’s reply contained only allegations. When other Congress members too objected, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said a minister had the right to read from a prepared text.

Reiterating that the government will “leave no stone unturned” to bring the corrupt to justice, Parrikar said the CBI is already on a money trail and they are tracing “where has the money gone”.

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An earlier version of this article erroneously quoted Minister Parrikar as saying 'invisible hand'. The error is regretted.

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  1. Archana Das
    May 5, 2016 at 5:15 am
    You thug are laughing as it is a great fun, entertainment. Get your CBI work hard and recover our tax money. Your face shows how irresponsible and fun loving person you are. Do you know 500 million Indians live like animal, only have some food to fill the stomach likje animal. Have some shame. If you can't protect our money then resign.
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    1. Archana Das
      May 4, 2016 at 6:18 pm
      You thug, what you were doing last two years when you own CBI. You may be busy with another deal and making money. 500 million Indians live like animal, how could you sleep at night. Cong-bjp-AAP-SP-dmk and all others Bhai-bhai
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        David
        May 4, 2016 at 6:42 pm
        The more the Congress confronts Swamy, the more the party and their Madam will be exposed. General rule is - when you are in the robbery business, do not come face to face with honest police. The Honest Police will see that the thieves are booked. The best strategy for thieves will be to go and hide and keep quiet. Do not obstruct Parliament, which only exposes you further.
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          Francis
          May 4, 2016 at 5:38 pm
          The hands must be clearly visible to everyone in Parliament. The Hands of the Italian Mafia lady, who looted the country, and whose name has been mentioned by the Italian court as the driving force in the corruption deal. It is atrocious! The Con Party used tax payers money to buy helicopters for their corrupt leaders, and worse still, they took bribe in this purchase. The Country will never forgive the Corrupt Con Party, which has aptly its symbol as Hand - The Corrupt Hand.
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            Ganesh
            May 4, 2016 at 6:56 pm
            It has been reported that Agusta Helicopters company paid huge sums of money on monthly basis to Indian journalists to suppress the scam. It is clear that there has been nexus between the UPA politicians - mafia headed by Sonia hi and the Corrupt media. The investigative agency CBI was already a caged parrot, who instead of probing the scams, was busy haring the police officials who tried to investigate terrorists appointed to kill the main political opponent. Who knows the some judiciary also might have been purchased. This organised criminal gang was looting the country over a decade, without any question. But for the active social media, the corrupt journalists would have been happily serving the corrupt mafia to benefit each other. Look, thousands of stories, analysis, and editorials have been written about non-existent "intolerance" matter, but the corrupt media has observed criminal silence about Agusta Helicopters scam.
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