Parrikar to speak on AgustaWestland in parliament on Wednesday

Panaji/New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said he will speak on the AgustaWestland issue in parliament on Wednesday, and give a detailed chronology of the events.

The minister, speaking to journalists in Panaji, also said the Congress needs to answer on its inaction in the probe on the deal which involved bribes being given in India.

He said it was the government’s job now to prosecute those guilty.

“The detailed chronology of the events, facts of the chopper deal, how clauses and provisions were relaxed to suit AgustaWestland will be placed before parliament on Wednesday,” Parrikar said.

According to sources, officials at the defence ministry are scanning the documents related to the deal and the probe, as the government prepares to corner the opposition Congress on the issue.

The government has already issued two official statements, one from the defence ministry and the second from the information and broadcasting ministry, answering questions raised by the Congress.

Parrikar accused the Congress of inaction on the scam.

“Our government blacklisted the firm, not theirs,” he said, referring to the then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

“Let them show if any action was taken by them against the company or if they have ordered for its blacklist,” he said.

“They have tried to erase the trail of corruption. It is for us to prove and prosecute them,” he said.

Both houses of parliament saw the issue being raised last week.

The judgment by a Milan court in Italy, that sent Finmeccanica’s former CEO Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland ex-head Bruno Spagnolini to jail for false accounting and corruption in the sale of the firm’s 12 VVIP choppers to India, contains the names of Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Ahmad Patel and also former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi.

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