SC to hear plea on five states’ helicopters purchase

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a plea by political organisation Swaraj Abhiyan for a CBI/SIT investigation into the alleged wrongdoings in the purchase of helicopters by Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan asked the petitioner to serve copies of its petition on the Centre and the five states and fixed the next hearing in the first week of November.

The petitioner’s counsel Prashant Bhushan told the bench that there was an adverse report by the Comptroller and Auditor General with respect to Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir while media reports about Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh clearly indicated the alleged wrongdoing.

The petitioner-organisation sought a court-monitored investigation into the purchase of AgustaWestland helicopter by the Chhattisgarh government.

Bhushan told the court that the state governments have purchased VIP helicopters either without any tender or by way of sham tender but none of such deals has been investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation/Enforcement Directorate the way the purchase of VVIP chopper by the central government was investigated.

He said that in the case of Chhattisgarh, the tender itself was issued for the purchase of a particular brand of Agusta helicopter — Agusta 109 Power E helicopter. The petitioner alleged that the helicopter was purchased from objectionable dealer having office in the tax haven of British Virgin Islands on the basis of “spurious global tenders”.

–IANS

pk/tsb/vt

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