Congress state president Sachin Pilot on Friday demanded to expand the scope of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in AgustaWestland chopper deal to include alleged financial irregularities pointed out by CAG in the helicopter purchase by the Vasundhara Raje-led Rajasthan government in 2005.
Pilot said, “CAG in its report had mentioned Rs 1.14 crore misappropriations of funds in the helicopter deal. CBI is already investigating AgustaWestland deal, and as state government had purchased one why should not this also be included in it.”
Pilot said in United Progressive Alliance regime the deal was cancelled and probe was handed over to CBI. The company was black listed.
The Rajasthan government had purchased the chopper when Raje also had the portfolio of civil aviation department. “Congress is not levelling any allegation but CAG has pointed misappropriation so a probe should be done,” said Pilot.
Pilot alleged, “In 2008, Raje decided to purchase the 17-seater AW139 chopper and paid a premium of Rs 7 crore to outsmart Andhra Pradesh’s which had earlier bought the same chopper for Rs 52 crore.
“But here Raje went ahead to offer Rs 59 crore for the same chopper. However, since Raje lost the assembly election, the matter was buried from public, government and auditors memories.” He added that the probe should also investigate the need of paying additional premium.
Defending the government, state Bhartiya Janta Party president Ashok Parnami stated that the public accounts committee (PAC) of state assembly gave a clean chit to Raje in 2013.
Countering it, Pilot said PAC and CAG are not investigative agencies and the BJP in the name of transparency should have the courage to be open for an inquiry.