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Choppergate: Defence Ministry failed to order departmental probe

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 - 9:35pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
After seeking reports from the Italian and the UK governments through the External Affairs ministry following media reports in February last year the Defence Ministry did not order a departmental probe in to the matter during this period, sources said on Wednesday.

The Defence Ministry may have quickly ordered a CBI probe on the bribery charges in the VVIP chopper deal in a damage control move but for over a year, it did not order any departmental inquiry into the matter.

After seeking reports from the Italian and the UK governments through the External Affairs ministry following media reports in February last year the Defence Ministry did not order a departmental probe in to the matter during this period, sources said on Wednesday.

Prior to a CBI probe, departmental inquiries are usually ordered to find out the seriousness of the allegations of corruption, they said.

In the fact-sheet on the procurement of AgustaWestland choppers, the Ministry has stated that from February 2012, when the first media report came out about allegations of payment of kickbacks by Finmeccanica officials to Indians to secure the deal, it has been seeking information from the two governments through the MEA.

The CBI probe was ordered by the Government only after the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO Giueseppe Orsi was reported by the Italian media.

The Ministry has now initiated the process of cancellation of the Rs 3,600 crore deal and issued a show-cause notice to the firm asking why it should not be cancelled in view of the corruption allegations.


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