Chopper deal: Manmohan Singh conveys India's concerns to Cameron

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 09:20 hrs

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that he conveyed India's serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for AgustaWestland helicopters to British Prime David Cameron, and added that the latter has assured him of his government's cooperation in the investigations.

"I also conveyed to Prime Minister Cameron our very serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for Agusta Westland helicopters. I told him that we have sought an explanation from the company by February 22 to examine if the contractual provisions on unethical practices and the Integrity Pact have been violated," said Dr. Singh in his statement to the media during the visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

" I have sought full assistance from the U.K. in this case. Prime Minister Cameron has assured me of the cooperation of his Government in the investigations," he added.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony today ruled out his resignation in connection with the chopper deal.

Antony, however, said that he was sad and upset that such an incident had taken place in spite of all precautions and warnings.

"I am sad and little upset because in spite of taking all the precautions, in spite of warning everybody at every stage (because) if at any stage of procurement foul play is found out even the last stage we will go to any extent cancellation and even blacklisting. We blacklisted six powerful companies on one case of bribery, out of that four companies are internationally powerful companies. Their wings are all over the world, we blacklisted four international companies," said Antony.

"I thought that will be a reminder, warning to everybody and we cancelled many contracts also. We took strong action in many cases, whenever we found something is wrong. But in spite of going to the maximum extent of blacklisting four powerful companies, still there is no end to human greed," he added.

Antony 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 earlier on Saturday directed Joint Secretary A.K. Bal to travel to Italy to gather as much evidence as possible relating to the allegations of corruption in the acquisition of 12 AW 101 VVIP helicopters.

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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