New Delhi: Amid looming threat of Opposition parties stalling the proceedings in the Parliament during upcoming Budget Session over VVIP chopper scam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said that his government had nothing to hide and was keen to discuss the matter on the floor of the Houses.

“We are ready to discuss all issues. There is scope for discussion,” the Prime Minister said.

Notably, the main opposition party BJP has accused the government of trying to ‘cover-up’ the issue by not allowing various probe agencies to look into the deal and keeping the Parliament in the dark in the name of internal probe in this case.

On Friday, India had said it had taken steps to cancel a USD 748 million contract for 12 helicopters from AgustaWestland amid allegations of kickbacks.

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.

The Budget Session of Parliament begins on Thursday. The Prime Minister was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function in Rashtrapati Bhawan to confer the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on noted social worker Ela Bhatt.


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