Parliament passes JPC probe into chopper scam

Chopper scam

"We have nothing to hide... We will not cover up, we will not be a party to cover-up. We will go to the root of the issue. Whoever is responsible will have to bear serious consequences," Antony said about the scam which unfolded earlier this month.

Revealing that he had "thought" of quitting after the scam broke, he promised the strongest action against the company if evidence points to wrongdoing.

"It is a matter of serious concern. We have to go to the root of the scam and punish the culprits because every pie that the government spends comes from tax payers. Whoever swindled public money, they have to be booked, they have to pay the price," he said, sharing concerns of the members who wanted to know the beneficiary of the kickbacks in India.

Besides the former Air Chief, his three cousins, former CEOs of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland and five others have been named as accused in the case. Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland and Indian companies IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix have also been named in the case.

"I want to know the truth, I will not run away. I want to punish the guilty... I must pursue this case and punish the guilty to the maximum extent," the Defence Minister said, adding "our track record is not cover up".

Asking the Opposition not to politicise the issue, he said: "We thought to satisfy you and respect your sentiments, so we thought we can have JPC."

Hitting out at the Opposition members for seemingly "enjoying the scam", the senior Congress leader said, "As a public worker I feel ashamed... A scam is not to be enjoyed."

He said the Italian court hearing the case has refused to share details, saying the proceedings are at preliminary stage.

"At the preliminary stage of investigations, only the arrested persons and their lawyers can have access to documents," he said, adding: "If they cite preliminary stage of inquiry, what can we do?"

... contd.

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