As the Opposition geared up to rake up chopper scam during the upcoming Budget session, the government today expressed readiness for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe, saying it has nothing to hide and "our hands are very clean".
A photo of AgustaWestland AW101 chopper, configured to meet diverse roles for pre-dominantly Maritime and Utility tasks. Photo: agustawestland.com
Defence minister AK Antony, who is at the centre of the attack, ruled out his resignation and said he was prepared to explain everything in Parliament.
"We are open for a Joint Parliamentary Committee if this satisfies everybody," parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath told a press conference when asked whether the government would accept the demand for a JPC probe into the chopper deal.
Nath insisted that the government was "neither afraid nor hesitant" on discussion on any issue during the three-month long session of Parliament beginning on Thursday.
The minister, who held meeting with chief whips of various political parties today, said the government had got a "flavour" of the issues including the chopper deal, hanging of Afzal Guru, price rise, land acquisition, food security, planned to be raised during the session.
He also rejected the BJP charge that Antony had misled Parliament on the issue of purchase of 12 AgustaWestland choppers for VVIPs and that his style of functioning has resulted in the alleged scam.
"Antony did not mislead Parliament. What does the BJP want Mr Antony to do? Work as per their style? Thank goodness he does not work as per their style. God knows what would have happened had he worked as per their style," he said.
On his part, Antony said, "I will do my duty. I am now getting ready for the Parliament session. We will explain everything to Parliament. We have nothing to hide. Our hands are very clean."
He said he was "sad and upset" over the row which had erupted despite all precautions having been taken. "Now we are preparing to face Parliament."