New Delhi: Union Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday made it clear that the Defence Ministry will recommend on whether to annul the contentious VVIP chopper deal or not with an Italian firm Agusta Westland.
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"Keeping all that in mind, the Defence Ministry will recommend what it thinks is appropriate," Khurshid said.
The Minister also said he has not expressed reservations on scrapping of the deal by the Defence Ministry. "I have not expressed any reservations. I had only said it sounds sensible, the decision has to be a collective decision of the Government led by the Ministry of Defence," he said.
He reiterated that the UPA government has nothing to hide and is keen to know the bottom of the issue. "We should not be pressurized by anything. We have nothing to hide. It is an out rightly objective procedure that has been followed,” the Minister added.
The Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal has been under the scanner for the past one year and Defence Minister AK Antony had told the Parliament last November that if any wrongdoing was found in the deal, "suitable penalty measures" would be taken by the Ministry.
Antony had last year sought a report from the Indian Embassy in Rome following media reports and allegations on malpractices in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland and to ascertain the role of the consultant hired by Finmeccanica to facilitate the deal with India. Finmeccanica is the parent company of AgustaWestland