Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Sunday he will place all facts along with the detailed chronology about the controversial AgustaWestland chopper deal before Parliament on May 4.
“I will place the detailed chronology, giving facts about the chopper deal before Parliament on Wednesday. I will place the detailed chronology, giving how and when necessary clauses or provisions were relaxed to suit the company,” he said.
“Those who received kickbacks will not leave behind the proof for us to prosecute them, but we will have to prove it (that kickbacks were received),” he said.
“It is for us to prove everything now. Since the issue would be placed in Parliament, I would not like to speak in detail to media,” the defence minister added.
“Why no action was taken against the company till 2014? Why was the company not blacklisted by then UPA government?” Parrikar said.
The war of words over the AgustaWestland chopper deal has intensified with the Congress asking the government and the BJP a pointed question: Why a “fraud and blacklisted company” was allowed to participate in defence contracts in 2014?
The charge has been outright denied by finance minister Arun Jaitley , who also held the defence portfolio from May to November 2014. He said AgustaWestland’s parent company Finmeccanica was never blacklisted by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
“I challenge the Congress to show the UPA government’s order blacklisting the AgustaWestland company. Let them reply first why it was not banned. It was during our (NDA) government that we banned it,” Parrikar said on Sunday.
AgustaWestland was not blacklisted during the UPA rule, top Modi government sources had recently said, asserting it was the NDA dispensation which had put on hold all acquisition proposals with the VVIP chopper scam-tainted firm.
The deal for the choppers went off track in 2013 when Italy arrested the head of Finmeccanica, which owns AgustaWestland, for paying bribes to secure the deal.
An Italian court, which convicted AgustaWestland chief Giuseppe Orsi, had reportedly described how the firm paid bribes to top Congress leaders to bag the Rs 3,600 crore deal.