Chopper scam: Samajwadi Party to take up issue in Parliament

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 11:11 hrs

Kanpur: Demanding strict action against those involved in the Rs. 3600-crore VVIP chopper deal, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Ram Asrey Kushwaha on Friday said that his party would take up this issue in the Parliament.

"The Samajwadi Party will take up the issue in the Parliament. The people, who are involved in corrupt practices, whether during the Congress or Bharatiya Janata Party regime, the Samajwadi Party takes up such issues and will take it up again," said Kushwaha.

"The truth will be unravelled and we will demand the Central Government should take strict action against them," he added.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has mounted pressure on the Congress-led UPA Government over the copter scam, has demanded setting up of a SIT to investigate into serious charges about payments made in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper purchase. The BJP has also demanded that the investigation should be held either under the supervision of the Supreme Court or the Parliamentary Committee.

Amid sharp criticism from the opposition parties, the government has promised that the guilty would not be spared in the scandal involving bribery in the acquisition of expensive helicopters for use by VVIPs.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony had earlier on Wednesday said that strong action will be taken against those found guilty.

"Nobody will be spared whatever may be the consequences," he said.

The name of former Air Chief S P Tyagi has reportedly figured in the alleged scam, but he has stoutly refuted the bribery charge against him.

Expressing his shock and disbelief over his name being involved in the scam, Air Chief Marshal (Retired) Tyagi said: "These allegations are totally baseless and I am denying them categorically."

"The deal was signed in 2010, whereas I retired in 2007 itself. All changes in requirements and specifications have to be approved by Ministry of Defence," Tyagi told media here yesterday, while countering allegations that the tender for the helicopters may have been tweaked under his influence.

"The tender was issued at my time, but no specifications were changed in my tenure," he added.

Asked about his relations with three alleged middlemen for the deal, including one 'former IAF officer identified as Captain Tyagi', the former IAF chief said the officer concerned was his cousin, but added that their relationship did not go beyond this.

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

Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi, who was arrested on Tuesday in Rome, had been under investigation for months and had denied any wrongdoing in the deal for the sale of 12 Augusta Westland helicopters to India in 2010.

The company is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs 362 crore in India to get orders for helicopters to ferry Indian VVIPs, prompting the government to order a CBI probe.

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