Chopper deal: Government is open for JPC probe, says Kamal Nath

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 15:30 hrs

In the wake of opposition strategy to target and corner the government in the upcoming Budget Session of Parliament over alleged corruption in the Agusta Westland deal for 12 VVIP choppers, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday said that they are open for a JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) probe on the issue.

"We are open for a JPC if this satisfies everybody," said Kamal Nath, replying to questions on whether the government would accept the demand for a JPC probe into the chopper deal.

He insisted that the government was 'neither afraid nor hesitant' on discussion on any issue during the three-month long Budget Session of Parliament beginning from February 21.

He rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) charge that Defence Minister A. K. Antony had misled Parliament on the issue of purchase of 12 choppers and that his style of functioning has resulted in the alleged scam.

Earlier in the day, Antony ruled out the opposition demand for his resignation and said he was sad and upset that such an incident had taken place in spite of all precautions and warnings.

He further said the government had nothing to hide and will explain everything in Parliament.

A CBI team has left for Italy to probe the allegations of kickbacks in the deal.

The Ministry of Defence has initiated action for the cancellation of contract for procurement of 12 AW101 helicopters for the use of VVIPs.

The copter scam was unfolded with the arrest of the head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company.

AgustaWestland, the Italian firm, is presently at the centre of a controversy over allegations of paying kickbacks in the Rs 3600 crore VVIP chopper deal. (ANI)

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