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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Khurshid, Antony say no differences in govt

Rahul Singh and Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 20, 2013
First Published: 00:42 IST(20/2/2013) | Last Updated: 07:12 IST(20/2/2013)

There is no rift within the government over the tough stance adopted by the defence ministry to cancel the VVIP chopper deal, defence and external affairs ministers said on Tuesday.

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Rubbishing media reports that the two senior UPA ministers were at loggerheads external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said, “I have not expressed any reservations on scrapping the deal.”

His comments come four days after the defence ministry issued a show-cause notice to UK-based AgustaWestland to cancel the February 2010 contract followed by reports suggesting that Khurshid was against the tough stance.

Meanwhile, Antony too denied reports of a rift within the government.

“The government is acting together,” Antony told journalists.

“I will do my duty. I am getting ready for the Parliament session. We have nothing to hide,” Antony said, when asked if he would resign over the kickbacks scandal.

Khurshid also put the onus of action on the defence ministry. “The defence ministry will recommend what it thinks is appropriate,” Khurshid said.

The two ministers spoke in the same voice ahead of the crucial Budget session, beginning February 21, in which the Opposition will grill the government over the alleged kickbacks in the deal.

Although a CBI probe into the VVIP chopper deal is underway, Antony indicated some wrongdoing might have taken place.

"We have followed all the procedures, and precautions were taken by the ministry, the air force and the SPG.

In spite of that, one thing is clear that something happened somewhere," he said, reiterating that no one would be spared if any wrongdoing was established.


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