Do not politicise Chopper deal, says Salman Khurshid

Dhaka, Feb. 16 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said that the issue of alleged corruption in deal with Agusta Westland for 12 VVIP choppers should not be politicised.

"I don't think there is need to politicise the issue. It is matter of national interest and as far as we are concerned, all procedures were followed very strictly. There is no scope for anyone to speculate about the procedures," said Khurshid to the media on-board his two-day official visit to Bangladesh.

"The government has already ordered a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe and the agency will inquiry the whole procedures in a free and fair manner to find out if there was any act of corruption " he added.

When asked whether the government is considering cancelling the deal, Khurshid said the government had issued a show-cause notice to the Italian company.

India had inked Rs 3,600 crore deal for 12 high-standard AW-101 helicopters from Agusta Westland, a subsidiary of Anglo-Italian defence giant Finmeccanica.

India has already received three of the 12 choppers.

The matter came to light following the arrest of Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi in Milan on January 12 over allegations of bribery for securing the deal with India.

In view of media reports, the Ministry of Defence through the Ministry of External Affairs had sought information from the Governments of Italy and UK and a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe has been ordered on January 12. (ANI)


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