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Scorpene deal: Cancellation call rejected

Govt has rejected calls for cancellation of the Rs 13,500 crore deal with a French company to acquire six submarines.

india Updated: Apr 16, 2006 13:42 IST

The Government has rejected calls for cancellation of the Rs 13,500 crore deal with a French company to acquire six Scorpene submarines.

At the same time, the Centre made it clear that the deal could be considered if it was proved middlemen were involved in it.

"The courts are considering the matter as a number of suits have been filed and we propose to go by the adjudication process," Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

The Minister, who had faced opposition attack in Parliament and outside on the issue, said Government has no plans to order a probe since the matter is before courts.

"Allegations have been levelled and the French company (Thales) has filed defamation suit saying that e-mails and documents published in a news journal are fabricated," Mukherjee said observing that it was now upto the judiciary to take a stand.

"The contract can be cancelled only if it is proved that the company (involved in the deal) had employed middlemen," the Defence Minister said, dismissing opposition charges.

Mukherjee said that naval operations directorate war room leak case and allegations of payment of kickbacks in the Scorpene deal were two issues.

In the war room leak, CBI investigation is currently on and "if any link" is established in the two cases, then the probe can also cover the submarine contract, he said.

First Published: Apr 16, 2006 12:44 IST