No response from Antony for chopper kickbacks probe demand: Javadekar



New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony did not respond to a letter sent exactly two months back demanding a time-bound probe into allegations of kickbacks in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said today.

Javadekar, a member of the Rajya Sabha, said that in a letter to Antony on Decembeer 14 last year, he had demanded that the government suo motu initiate a time bound probe as early as possible in the wake of of allegations that Rs 350 crore were paid to facilitate the deal.

Making a strong pitch for a probe, he had told Antony that "if there is a political will, there is always a way."

In the letter, the BJP MP had told the government that the names of several Indians have allegedly surfaced in the preliminary inquiry report that has been filed by Italian investigators in a court in Naples.

"The available taped conversation between the mastermind Guido Ralph Haschke and his accomplice Gerosa clearly throw light on the nexus behind the graft and their attempts for exterminating the evidence", Javadekar had said.

The BJP MP, who had raised a question on the issue in the Upper House on Dec 12, wrote the letter as he found that the government had not started any formal probe awaiting further details from Italy and the U K.

He wanted the government to seek the related information on an urgent basis on the strength of good bilateral relations.

Alleging that the government till the last "tried to cover up" the matter, Javadekar said he did not receive any response from the Defence Minister till today. Antony yesterday announced a CBI probe into the matter.

Javadekar said it was strange that Italy, which was going to benefit from the contract, pursued a probe while India, which was losing because of alleged corruption and incurring heavy losses, did not go for an investigation. "This contradiction is unacceptable".

He recalled that Antony had ordered a CBI probe in the Tatra trucks issue on March 30 last year within hours of his demand in the Rajya Sabha that the Defence Minister should resign.

PTI