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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Dec 2014

AK Antony admits corruption in chopper deal

PTI  Kochi, March 25, 2013
First Published: 12:11 IST(25/3/2013) | Last Updated: 17:29 IST(25/3/2013)

Defence minister AK Antony on alleged corruption in the Agusta Westland helicopter deal, today said CBI is 'vigorously' pursuing the matter.
 
"My commitment to Parliament stands. I do feel somebody has taken money. The enquiry is at a crucial stage. We will not show mercy to anybody and will take action however powerful he may be," he said, adding stern action would be taken after the report comes out.

Antony talking to the press in Kochi on Monday said, the defence ministry is in the final stages of preparing the New Procurement Policy, which will 'aggresively' pursue indigenisation.

"We are also very very particular to aggressively pursue indigenisation, especially after our many experiences... The new procedures will give further impetus and a new momentum to indiginisation", he told reporters.

He was responding to a question on the Union Commerce Minister making a strong pitch to raise the FDI limit in the defence sector from 26% to 75%.

"Regarding other things, we are not for any hasty decision. So at the moment we cannot take a decision hastily," he said.

The procurement policy will henceforth be reviewed every year. Earlier, it was being reviewed every two years, he said.

On the Italian marines issue, he said India's action has been proved correct. The bold stand of the Indian judiciary and government has enhanced the prestige of the country and the judiciary, he said.

The marines-- Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone -- were aboard Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' when they allegedly shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15 last year. The two had been allowed by the Supreme Court to go to their country for four weeks to vote. However, Italy had refused to send them back initially.

Asked about the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, he said the whole nation and government have already expressed solidarity over the issue.

Antony said terrorism was not confined to one country. No single country can say it is protected from terrorism, he said, adding, regional and international cooperation is needed to wipe out terrorism.

The minister said he would be attending the meeting of Defence ministers of ASEAN nations at Brunei in June in which China and the US would also be taking part.

"We will discuss how to further expand cooperation among the ASEAN nations," he said.


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