IAF Chief plays down secret file controversy | delhi | Hindustan Times
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IAF Chief plays down secret file controversy

Air Chief Marshal P V Naik today downplayed the incident related to a secret file which was recovered from a roadside in New Delhi, saying it did not deal with any sensitive issue and would not have any impact on the multi-billion dollar fighter contract.

delhi Updated: Jan 11, 2011 19:39 IST

Air Chief Marshal P V Naik on Tuesday downplayed the incident related to a secret file which was recovered from a roadside New Delhi, saying it did not deal with any sensitive issue and would not have any impact on the multi-billion dollar fighter contract.

The file was related to the offsets proposal of the over USD 11 billion 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft(M-MRCA) acquisition, which is at a critical stage as the IAF has submitted its final report after carrying out two year-long extensive field trials.

"The file has got nothing earth-shaking and it has nothing to do with national security. It hardly had anything to do peripherally with the M-MRCA.... It is not not going to affect the deal," Naik told reporters in New Delhi.

The IAF chief was asked about if the incident could have any impact on the deal.

"It was a part file dealing with the some of the offsets proposal. There were three or four enclosures in the file, which dealt with some comments on the offsets proposal. So, it had nothing to do with the deal as such," he added.

Naik said that two separate probes were ordered into the incident by both the Defence Ministry and the IAF.

"IAF inquiry is looking into whether correct procedures in handling confidential documents were followed or not followed. That inquiry is nearing completion and they (procedures in IAF) were followed by and large. The file was handed over to the Ministry nice and proper," he added.

Commenting on the Ministerial inquiry into the case, the IAF chief said, "I don't know what has happened to it. I am sure that they will find out because it is straightforward as the person who signs it, is supposed to have it."

Offsets are important part of defence contracts worth over Rs 300 crores as foreign vendors are required top invest back at least 30% of the deal into Indian defence sector.

Asked about the allegations levelled by BSF officials saying that their signatures were forged on a document related to the purchase of two new aircraft for the paramilitary, Naik said, "I don't know what is the result of the inquiry and we will let you know soon."

The IAF ordered an inquiry last month after certain BSF officials alleged that their signatures on the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) for procuring two new cargo planes from a European manufacturer were forged.