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Choppergate: "Govt ready for any probe"

Posted on Feb 20, 07:26PM | IBNS

New Delhi, Feb 20 : Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday said the government is ready for any kind of probe into the AugustaWestland chopper deal.

"The helicopter deal is not about corruption. It is a slur on India," Nath told reporters here.

He said: "The government is open to any kind of investigation, inquiry into this matter."

"We must have a complete transparent and a very incisive inquiry," Nath said.

Nath made the comments ahead of the Budget Session of the Parliament that starts from Thursday.

India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earlier said it will raise the issue in the Parliament.

"Before every session of Parliament a scam gets highlighted. Earlier it was the Coal allocation scam and now the helicopter scam...the BJP will raise the issue," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday 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 Tuesday, 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.