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No witch hunting in Agusta probe: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday ruled out political witch hunt in the probe into the AgustaWestland chopper deal, saying investigating agencies will do a professional job and whatever names come up, "let's see".



New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday ruled out political witch hunt in the probe into the AgustaWestland chopper deal, saying investigating agencies will do a professional job and whatever names come up, "let's see".

However, he maintained that a "sin" has been committed and those behind them have had a "big protective cover".

"The case about Agusta helicopters. I can't deny it and I believe that we have the right to doubt that people behind this are very experienced.

"They have perfectly practiced the art of doing wrong deeds. They are very experienced and knowledgeable. And one can also smell the fact that such a thing wouldn't have been done without a big protective shield. Now, agencies are probing. Let's see how far the probe goes," he told Times Now.

He was asked in an interview about a feeling that there is some kind of a political witch hunt while it could not also have been done without political patronage.

"There should be no targeting (of individuals). Nor does my government do it," he said.

"A sin has been committed. How was it done, who did it and how much was done. Probe agencies will find out in a professional way. Whatever names come out, let's see," he said.

Talking about the web of corruption in defence deals, Modi said, "There are many things which are not visible. One can't imagine the difficulty I am experiencing in taking out things from dirt. One who is working there knows the amount of dirt that exists and how certain things have been caught in a web. There are certain powers behind it." 

 On the stalled GST bill, Modi said the Congress has made it a prestige issue but expressed confidence that the evolving arithmetic in Rajya Sabha would ensure that the legislation would be passed soon.

"GST is beneficial for the poor people of the states represented by them, because those states will economically benefit the most from GST...This is why be it Mamata Banerjee, be it Nitish Kumar, be it Akhilesh Yadav or Naveen Patnaik, all these states want the GST bill to be passed at the earliest. There is just one group which has made it the issue of prestige. Now the kind of arithmetic which is working out, I hope that this decision is passed in favour of the poor," he said.

PM Modi said only the Congress can answer why it has made the Bill a prestige issue.

Referring to the discussions he had with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Modi said he had made all efforts and held talks at every level.

"...But despite this, I will keep trying. I am ready to convince them in whichever way possible. If I have to convince someone over a cup of tea at their house, I am even ready for that. I have no problem. My only aim is the welfare of the poor of my country and the poor of states like Uttar Pradesh," he said.

To a question on the coming elections in Uttar Pradesh and whether he would ensure that there would be no communal agenda, the Prime Minister said development would be the focus and that is the way the country would progress.

"It's my conviction, it's my commitment. You must have seen during the 2014 elections that I fought elections on the issue of development. The new generation of the country only believes in development. I believe that solution to all problems is in development.

On hotheads triggering communal tensions, he said the media should not make heroes out of those people who make such comments.

"Don't make them heroes, they will stop. Why do you make them so big? I see such statements by people on TV, whose faces I haven't even seen and they end up becoming spokesmen on TV," he said.

Conceding "there have been a lot of problems" in Parliament because of disruptions, he blamed the Congress saying a party which has been in power for 60 years and which knows nitty gritties cannot behave in a way a new opposition party behaves.

"A party which hasn't been in power or hasn't seen anything, could behave in this way. For example, we are in power now, and consider in 2040 we become the Opposition party. So, in 2040 we can't have the same conduct as the one we had in 2009 or 2010," he said. 

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