Congress seeks CVC probe into Punjab chopper purchase

Chandigarh, July 27 : Raising questions about the lack of transparency in the Punjab government's purchase of a Bell helicopter, the state's opposition Congress Saturday demanded a probe by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) into the matter.

Congress spokesman Sukhpal Khaira said that the Punjab government purchased the Bell 429 helicopter worth Rs.38 crore recently and alleged the process was "arbitrary, malafide, illegitimate and non transparent".

He said that a similar Bell 429 helicopter was purchased by Satyajit Majithia, father-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for his Orbit Aviation Company recently.

"Throwing all norms and procedures of transparency and accountability to the winds, the Punjab government, in an extreme hurried manner, procured quotations from four international manufacturers and selected the Bell Textron Co., for the purchase of Rs.38 crore helicopter," Khaira claimed.

"The Badal government never thought it appropriate to call for global tenders, a procedure followed across the world and India particularly, while allotting government works or making financially big purchases out of the public exchequer money," he said.

Khaira said that the Punjab government fast-tracked the purchase of the government helicopter.

"The deputy chief minister, in tearing hurry, constituted a five member sub-committee under the chief secretary on April 4, 2012.

"On the morning of April 10, 2012, the chief secretary held a meeting seeking the approval of the government and on that very day (April 10) in the evening, the chief minister in a meeting accorded approval to the purchase of a helicopter," Khaira claimed.

--IANS (Posted on 27-07-2013)

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