Ready to discuss deal in Parliament: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday that he and his government would not shy away from a discussion on the controversial VVIP helicopter deal in the coming Budget Session of Parliament.

"We can always sit down. There is scope for discussion. Parliament is a forum for discussion. We are ready to discuss all issues," the Prime Minister said when asked about the Opposition's threat to stall Parliament on the chopper row.

The Prime Minister was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan to give the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development to noted social worker Ela Ramesh Bhatt.

The Budget Session of Parliament begins on Thursday.

The BJP has accused the UPA government of a "cover-up" in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland at a cost of Rs 3546 crore. The Left parties have demanded cancellation of the contract.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the Indian government has not been able to get any "concrete material" from the Italian authorities.

"So far whatever they have done, we have reacted and responded. But up to this point they have not indicated anything. They are unable to share with us anything," he said, adding, that the CBI team had gone to Milan "to gather information and materials which can be analysed when they come".

Responding to a question, he said: "Our courts have to issue them and they have to be addressed by Italian courts, but it (Letters Rogatory) is the best and strongest method available to us."

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