Don't politicise chopper deal: Salman Khurshid

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 16, 2013 14:20 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Saturday said the controversial VVIP chopper deal should not be politicised and that all procedures were "strictly followed" in it.

The CBI is probing alleged kickbacks paid by Italian firm Finmeccanica to clinch the Rs.3,650 crore ($750 million) deal for 12 VVIP helicopters.

"It is not right to politicise the issue. It is a matter of national interest. All procedures were strictly followed by the government," Khurshid told reporters here.

"The government has issued a show cause notice to them (AgustaWestland). There are procedures involved that have to be followed," he said.

On the names of top dignitaries cropping up in the case, Khurshid said: "We should not involve them."

He urged opposition parties "not to get distracted from the core issue to get to the bottom of the facts".

He said the case could come up for discussion during the upcoming visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Khurshid said the government tried to get details of the deal earlier but could not get much information.

"We attempted to get details but there were procedural issues and, therefore, there was paucity of information. Now that the investigations (in Italy) have reached the stage for making an arrest, that is indicative of the seriousness," he said.

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