CPM demands CBI probe in missile deal with Israel

The CPI(M) on Saturday demanded a CBI inquiry into the Rs 10,000-crore missile production agreement entered into by the Defence Ministry with Israel Aerospace Industries.....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:March 29, 2009 12:12 am

The CPI(M) on Saturday demanded a CBI inquiry into the Rs 10,000-crore missile production agreement entered into by the Defence Ministry with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI),alleging involvement of massive kickbacks in the deal.

Incidentally,the CPI(M) had accused the Government of using the CBI as a political tool when the agency named its Kerala secretary Pinarayi Vijayan as an accused in the SNC-Lavalin case and when it chargesheeted a CPI(M) leader in the Tapasi Malik murder case in Singur.

Pointing out that the IAI is already under the investigation of the CBI in connection with the Barak missile deal,the CPI(M) asked the Government to explain why the Israeli firm was not embargoed from further supplies till that case was disposed of. The party had earlier shot off letters to the Prime Minister and Defence Minister alleging irregularities in the deal.

The party also raised questions on the timing of the signing of the deal and the reason for keeping it a secret. The information that the deal was signed on February 27,on the eve of elections,has now become known from the IAI which has claimed that the Indian Government wanted the signing of the contract to be kept secret,it said.

Referring to reports that the deal involves a “business charge” which is 6 per cent of the total value (approximately Rs 600 crore),the party said the amount involved made it a scam of 10-fold magnitude compared to the Bofors’ Rs 64-crore kickbacks.

“How does the Government explain the 6 per cent ‘business charges’? Is this not contrary to the stipulations against engagement of agents and payment of agency commissions?” CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury asked.

Asked about the role of Defence Minister A K Antony,Yechury said,“Mr Antony is Mr Clean and what we are saying is that it is unfortunate such a deal happened when he is the Defence Minister. Mr Clean has to come clean on it.”

On allegations against the CBI in the past,Yechury said,“In the past we had problems with the CBI in Kerala and Bengal. But we have to trust someone.” Asked whether the CPI(M) had trust in the CBI,he added: “We have to trust CBI and we cannot go to CIA.”

Meanwhile,the Congress rubbished reports about

kickbacks in the deal and rejected demands for the CBI probe. “The demand for a CBI probe is preposterous. All these deals are done as per procedure laid down,” AICC media cell chairman Veerappa Moily said.

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