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Posted on Feb 20, 05:19PM | IANS
New Delhi, Feb 20 : India needs to speed up the indigenisation process of its defence production in order to root out corruption from the sector, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Wednesday.
"I think our armed forces, government, DRDO, industry both public as well as private should come together in mission mode so that India can achieve maximum for indigenisation in a reasonable time," he said.
"Whatever support is needed from the government, I assure you we will give," he said at a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conference here.
The minister said: "I am going to ask about our defence procurement and defence production policy so we can speed up the indigenisation process".
Regarding corruption in defence deals, he said: "I got an e-mail last year about some foul dealings by one Abhishek Verma; immediately I sent that e-mail to CBI director and enforcement directorate".
"We have to go to the root of all allegations. Whatever needs to be done to punish the guilty" should be done.
"We can't afford to waste a single rupee of the taxpayers money," Antony said.
Antony's comments came in the wake of alleged corruption in the VVIP chopper deal. A team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and defence ministry officials left for Italy Monday to get more information on the alleged kickbacks in the deal.
The defence ministry last week initiated action for cancellation of the chopper contract.
It also issued a formal show-cause notice to AgustaWestland to explain within a week why the contract should not be cancelled.
The matter came to light after Italian agencies arrested Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi for suspected corruption to seal the deal. AgustaWestland is a subsidiary of Finmeccanica.