Italian chopper deal: Investigations should be allowed, do not sensationalise it, says govt

New Delhi: In the wake of charges of delay in conducting probe in the VVIP chopper deal, the government on Thursday said an independent probe by Enforcement Directorate (ED) was underway and investigations should be allowed to run their due course.

“This particular procurement process was initiated during NDA. It started during the NDA government, it culminated during the UPA government. Therefore, it has to be borne across two administrations. There are certain issues which have come out in the public and government has already addressed them by ordering a CBI enquiry,” information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said.

“When some of these revelations came out in the public sphere last year, and Mr (AK) Antony articulated it yesterday, the Enforcement Directorate was looking at it independently. Therefore, there has been absolutely no foot dragging on the issue, as is being made out,” he said.

Tewari, who was interacting with journalists at the Indian Women’s Press Corps, also objected to attempts to draw parallels between the Augusta Westland helicopter deal and the Bofors case.

“And I think it is extremely dangerous and irresponsible to be drawing parallels through some other investigation. Let also not forget that in the February of 2004, the Delhi High Court quashed the charges in the Bofors case. There was an NDA government which was at helm. The NDA government did not even exercise the remit of filing a special leave petition in the Supreme Court,” he said.

The time given for a SLP to be filed is 90 days and the NDA government had continued till May 22, 2004, but they had not done so, he said.

“Rather than being sensational, rather than being extremely belligerent about it, let the investigations take place,” he added.

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