AgustaWestland: The ongoing Indian Chopper Debacle

Much has been spoken lately about the AgustaWestland scam, another ghost from the UPA regime. This just does not seem to end! Time and again this matter has surfaced and become dormant over the course of past 13-14 years.

Nut, now that BJP has decided to aggressively approach this matter, things have started to become clearer.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, much to the vocal opposition of the Congress members, initiated a debate on the matter in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. One can’t even pretend to be surprised these days with such reactions from Congress members.

The start of this matter dates back to 2002 when the contract of VVIP choppers was given to the British-Italian makers with standards altered to an extent that could harm the very purpose of these choppers.

These choppers as rightly mentioned by MP Subramaniam Swamy in his first speech at Rajya Sabha, are required to fly at a height of 6,000 metres so that MP’s could reach areas at greater heights such as Siachen or Northeast.

But this was altered to 4,500, thus negating the basic purpose. This clearly raises the question of bribery.
The Italian court had mentioned earlier about there being “omissions and commissions in the decision-making process.”

In 2014, under the advice of the CAG, the then defence minister, AK Antony terminated the controversial contract for 12 helicopters (this was initially meant to be for eight helicopters).

During the entire Congress rule, none of their leaders were put under the microscope in this probe. Parrikar and Swamy then went on to point out that no other company considered this deal (especially Eurocopter, who met all the original benchmarks).

The question of an invisible hand directing the probe into this matter is surely not baseless.
On one hand the UNDP backs India to be a workforce superpower, by 2050, on the other hand, these controversies severely curb the development in the country.

What’s worse is the fact that these controversies are most of the times over a decade old, leaving no time and other resources to deal with current and more urgent matters. The curtains are yet to be lifted on how much money was given as bribes.

The probation in India is years behind the one going on in Italy. All this is doing is fuelling the feud between BJP and Congress.

The last few years has seen a rather one-sided rally of scams being uncovered. The change of power may well have opened a can of worms, but the actions of the current government seem promising on making good on the mistakes of their counterparts.

Wondering what Arvind Kejriwal has to say about this? Well, rather not so outlandishly, he has dared ‘Modi Sarkaar’ to arrest Sonia Gandhi.

Delhi and national media are going to have a ball with the kind of reactions that we expect him to give, as the case progresses. He has been quiet (by his standards), but we all know the quiet before the storm.

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