Congress ready for JPC into Agusta Westland deal, says Antony

Former Defence Minister and senior Congress leader A K Antony said that his party is ready for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into Agusta Westland VVIP Helicopter deal, although his party is not having much presence in Lok Sabha. At the same time, he said they are also demanding for such a probe into Rafale deal. But, he wonders that why BJP is shying away for such probe either on Rafale deal or on Agusta Westland deal, though the party is having absolute majority in Lok Sabha.

He pointed out that the chairman of the JPC will be from the BJP. A majority of the members of the JPC will be from the BJP because it has a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha. He recalled that as Defence Minister he had offered a JPC inquiry on the Agusta Westland Helicopter deal, an offer which the BJP had then turned down.  Accusing that the BJP is fearing to face any questions on Rafale deal, he said that  the JPC would have the power to summon all the concerned officials for questioning and call for all the relevant files.

He also recalled that he as Defence Minister had cancelled the Agusta Westland order soon after reports emerged in Italy about whiffs of corruption, he said that he had ordered a CBI inquiry and took the decision to fight a legal case in Milan (Italy) against the company. The Indian Government not only won the case but also recovered the entire sum of money that it had paid to the company by way of advance payment etc.

Antony also maintained that during his tenure as defendce minister his  Government took decisions to black list six companies, very powerful companies in the world, one American Company, one German Company, one Israeli Company, one Russian Company, one Singaporean Company and one Indian Company. “Our Government showed the courage of conviction and commitment to fight against corruption…but the BJP is not even willing to accept a JPC probe,” he added.

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