Mayawati demands SC-monitored probe into AgustaWestland deal

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New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati on Wednesday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the AgustaWestland chopper deal, saying the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has become a political tool of the government of the day.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) supported Mayawati’s demand, with party MP Tapan Kumar Sen endorsing her stand on the issue in the Rajya Sabha.

“For the last few years there is a perception that CBI has been politicised and any party which is in power at the Centre has used it against its opponents. This is a serious matter which has a long-term impact. So, our party demands a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the AgustaWestland deal,” Mayawati said during a discussion on the issue in the upper house.

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Targeting the Narendra Modi government on this issue, she said that it has been two years that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led dispensation is in power and yet the investigative agencies have failed to bring any clarity into the facts of the matter.

“The government could have expedited the inquiry if it had wanted,” Mayawati said, asserting that the house should have taken up the issue only after the investigative agencies gave their report.

“Investigation is incomplete as the CBI and other agencies are yet to submit their reports. So what was the hurry to have this discussion?” Mayawati asked, insisting: “It seems the government wants to target the opposition on this issue.”

Echoing a similar view, the Communist Party of India-Marxist also asked the government to fight corruption decisively.

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“Let us not politicise the fight against corruption. The government must ask the CBI to speed up its investigation process,” party MP Tapan Kumar Sen said.

He added his party also supports the demand raised by the BSP.

“We are with the BSP on this issue and there must be a Supreme Court-monitored investigation that should bring all the facts before everyone,” Sen added.

The Rajya Sabha is having a short-term discussion on allegations of bribery and corruption in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal after the multi-crore-rupee scam resurfaced last month. The names of some Congress leaders, including party chief Sonia Gandhi, were said to have figured in a judgment of an Italian court.

AgustaWestland allegedly paid Rs.375 crore as bribe to secure the Rs.3,700-crore contract to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force. The previous United Progressive Alliance government scrapped the deal over charges of kickbacks.

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