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No guilty in Italian chopper scam will be spared: AK Antony

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 10:38am IST Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 11:27am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Once we get the preliminary inquiry report from CBI, strongest action will be taken against those found guilty, asserted Antony at a press conference in national capital.

At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Union defence minister AK Antony said the guilty in the alleged AgustaWestland helicopter scam will not be spared.

Apart from confirming that the government had already initiated a time-bound CBI inquiry into the alleged kickbacks, Antony said, "Nobody will be spared whatever may be the consequences."

"We will take the strongest possible action as under integrity pact", said Antony, while asserting that "if the Indian government paid any money in the deal, we will get it back.

"We don't want to jump the gun. We can get our money back even at this stage" says Antony on the Rs 3600 crore deal.

Confirming that six companies had already been blacklisted, the defence minister said, "Further criminal action and blacklisting of companies will follow the CBI inquiry. We don't fear how big the companies are. No one will be spared."

Meanwhile the Italian investigators name former Air chief  SP Tyagi in the scam.

SP Tyagi denies all charges and rubbishes allegations by italian prosecutors. He says that he retired in 2007 while deal was signed in 2010. "No adjustments were made to the deal during my term and any changes in specifications cannot be done by air force alone," said Tyagi.

Meanwhile, CBI has been asked to give an early report on its probe into the alleged kickbacks. Once the preliminary inquiry report from CBI is received, strongest action will be taken against those found guilty.

However, Antony said, "After CBI report, we will take serious action that may include cancelling the deal."

Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested on Monday in relation to a probe into international corruption. He is suspected of involvement in the payment of bribes regarding the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters produced by Finmeccanica's subsidiary AgustaWestland.

What is the AugustaWestland case

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