New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Tuesday refuted reports about his resignation over the contentious VVIP chopper deal saying that he was preparing to discuss the issue in the upcoming Budget Session of the Parliament, slated to commence from Thursday.

“I will do my duty. I am getting ready for the Parliament session,” he said.

Antony said he is ‘sad’ over the allegations of kickbacks despite taking all precautions at all stages. “I am sad over the allegations of kickbacks despite taking all precautions at all stages,” the Defence Minister said.

Antony also ruled out any political interference in the defence procurement process. “In India's defence procurements, there is no political decision,” he said.

He further clarified that there is no rift within the UPA government over the annulment of Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal. “Nothing like that ... whole Government is acting together. It is the decision of the government that we must get to the root of the controversy. We must get the truth, find out... and whoever did it should be brought to the law at the earliest...there is no difference,” he added.

He said that Government and his ministry have ‘nothing to hide’ on the matter and assured that "nobody will be spared" if any wrongdoing found. "We will take action....nobody will be spared. We are rigorously trying to get the truth," the Defence Minister said.

Replying to a volley of questions on why action is not being taken against individuals here, Antony said that so far whatever has come out is "media reports" and promised that the government will not compromise on transparency.

"We are trying to get the details of the investigation. ...We are proceeding as per the law. Unless we get some concrete evidence....unless something is officially with us, how can we act? We are rigorously trying to get the truth. Before that we do not want to jump to conclusions," the Defence Minister said.

Action after CBI report: Antony

Antony also added that proper action will be taken in chopper deal once the CBI report is submitted. "We will take action as per the law once the CBI report is out. I don't want to jump to any conclusion. Our (Government) hands are very clean and we have nothing to worry. We will explain everything in the Parliament," Antony said.

At present, a joint team of CBI and Defence Ministry is in Italy to gather more information over the alleged scam.

The Defence Ministry had last week initiated action for annulling the contract. It had also issued a formal show-cause notice to AgustaWestland to explain within a week why the contract should not be cancelled.

The matter came to light after Italian agencies arrested the then Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi for suspected corruption to seal the deal.


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