Parliament passes JPC probe into chopper scam

Chopper scam

A Joint Parliamentary Committee will probe the controversial chopper deal, with the government today asserting that there will be "no cover up" as it was determined to go to the root of the scam and give maximum punishment to the guilty.

Defence Minister A K Antony told Parliament that the government was ready for a JPC probe into the chopper scandal that has been reported exclusively by The Indian Express.

The setting up of the 30-member JPC was decided through a government motion passed by the Rajya Sabha after a walkout by members of most of Opposition parties like BJP, JD(U), Trinamool Congress, CPI and AGP.

Moving the motion, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the JPC would submit its report within three months of its first sitting and rejected the Opposition contention that the decision would amount to putting the issue on the backburner.

He attacked the Opposition for walking out, saying they were "running away".

Earlier, the House saw a debate during which the Opposition accused the government of inaction for over a year into the Rs 3,600 crore deal for 12 helicopters with AgustaWestland which has got into a controversy after allegations that kickbacks to the tune of Rs 362 crore were paid to bag it.

Replying to the debate, Defence Minister A K Antony asserted that there would be no "cover up" and the government was determined to go to the "root of the scam".

Insisting that there was no inaction on his part, he said he ordered the CBI probe as soon as reports came about the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of AgustaWestland's parent company Finmeccanica in Italy.

Noting that CBI has filed a preliminary enquiry and named 11 individuals, including former Air Chief S P Tyagi, Antony expressed confidence that the probe by the agency along with the one in Italy will bring out the truth.

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