HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Can discuss chopper deal in House: PM

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 18, 2013
First Published: 13:01 IST(18/2/2013) | Last Updated: 00:36 IST(19/2/2013)

With the budget session just three days away and the Opposition waiting to grill the government on VVIP chopper purchase, PM Manmohan Singh said on Monday that the government was ready to discuss the Rs. 3,760-crore deal in the House.

“We can always sit down. There is scope for discussion… We are ready to discuss all issues,” Singh said on the sidelines of a function at Rashtrapati Bhawan to confer the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on social worker Ela Bhatt.

The BJP will demand either a Supreme Court-monitored probe or a joint parliamentary committee investigation.

The BJP has accused the government of covering up the Rs. 375-crore kickback scandal involving the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers.

The Left has already demanded a discussion on the deal.

On February 15, the defence ministry - in a pre-emptive measure to ensure a smooth session - issued a show-cause notice to the Finmeccanica subsidiary, UK-based AgustaWestland, “seeking the cancellation of the contract” and set a seven-day deadline for it to reply.

If the government finally scraps the deal - the first instance of cancelling a deal after the beginning of delivery - the three AW-101 helicopters already parked in IAF hangars could be returned.

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