Chopper deal: D. Raja calls for transparency, questions MoD
New Delhi, Feb. 13 : Expressing serious concern over the Italian chopper scam, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja on Wednesday said the defence ministry must clean up the system and evolve a kind of mechanism, which becomes more transparent, accountable and answerable to Parliament and the people of the country.
"There should be some transparency. The Defence Ministry must clean up the system and Defence Ministry must evolve a kind of mechanism, which becomes more transparent, which becomes more accountable, answerable to the Parliament and the people of the country," he said.
Stating that the nation has witnessed the revelation of many scams in defence establishment in the past, including the Bofors scandal and the Coffin scandal, Raja said the latest disclosure is a very serious matter.
" Something rotten in the defence establishment, there is no transparency and I do not see any accountability is there or not. The Defence Minister, Mr. A.K. Antony, has said that there has been a CBI inquiry ordered and strict actions will be taken. But the country wants to know what happens to all the inquiries. The country wants to know what prosecution takes place and how the guilty are punished and the country's interests are protected," he added.
Pointing out at the financial aspect, Raja said the people's money is swindled because if there is no bribe there can be a direct deal and that will benefit the country financially.
"Now, the security aspect also, if the top brass in the defence establishment they are vulnerable to bribe and buying then it is a very serious matter and the entire system needs to be cleaned up. I do not know what steps Mr. A.K. Antony as Defence Minister is going to take in the coming days we will have to wait. But it is a very serious matter and the Defence Minister will come out with very elaborate statement explaining what is happening with the defence establishment as far as purchase of equipments (is concerned)," he added.
Defence Minister A K Antony earlier in the day said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been asked to give an early report on its probe into alleged helicopter deal.
Antony, who was speaking to the media at the Asian Security Conference here, said corruption will not be tolerated in defence deal, and added that the government will take strict action against the guilty.
"I have no information," he added, when asked to comment on the alleged role of former Air Chief S P Tyagi in the VVIP chopper deal.
The arrest of Italian company chief in Milan prompted the government in India to order a CBI probe.
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 said contract was signed in February 2010 for the purchase of 12 helicopters. In view of media reports, the Ministry of Defence through the Ministry of External Affairs had sought information from the Governments of Italy and UK. No specific inputs were, however, received substantiating the allegations.
The contract signed with M/s. Augusta Westland includes specific contractual provisions against bribery and the use of undue influence as well as an Integrity Pact.