Choppergate: RS passes motion to form JPC

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 27, 2013 17:04 hrs

Amid protests by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the motion for constituting a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the AugustaWestland chopper deal.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath moved the motion for a JPC probe into the chopper scam.

The BJP, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Janata Dal (United) walked out of the House after the motion was moved.

Nath said: "If we don´t set up a JPC then they will accuse us."

Earlier, the BJP dismissed the government´s decision to form a JPC to investigate the matter.

Defence Minister AK Antony said the culprits in the AugustaWestland chopper deal will be ´punished´.

He said scams taking place anywhere in the country is a matter of ´shame´.

"Scams taking place anywhere in the country are not a matter of enjoyment, but a matter of shame," Antony said during a debate in the Rajya Sabha over the VVIP chopper scam.

"We need to go to the roots and punish the culprit. Whoever played with the taxpayers´ money needs to pay the price," he said.

The minister said the Defence Ministry is determined to find out the truth.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier demanded a ´fair probe´ into the matter.

"Please assure us a fair and timely probe into the matter," Prasad told Antony.

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said: "This government has done all form of scams covering land, water and air."

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) in the AugustaWestland chopper deal.

The probe agency has named former Air Force chief SP Tyagi and his cousins Julie Tyagi and Dosca Tyagi in its PE, media reports said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron last week assured Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cooperation in the AugustaWestland chopper scandal.

Both Singh and Cameron discussed the issue during their meeting in New Delhi on Feb 19, they said in a joint press briefing.

The Indian PM said he conveyed to Cameron the very serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for Agusta Westland helicopters.

The Italian prosecutors, who named former Air Force chief SP Tyagi as a part of the alleged payment of kickbacks in the Rs 3600 crore purchase deal of VVIP choppers by India from AugustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian helicopter company owned by Italy´s Finmeccanica, earlier said they have enough evidence against Tyagi for framing the charges.

There are allegations of kickbacks worth 50 million euros in the scam, according to media reports.

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