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No commitment on cancelling AgustaWestland deal just yet, says Salman Khurshid


Suhasini Haidar,CNN-IBN
Feb 16, 2013 at 10:30pm IST

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said that all procedures were 'strictly followed' by the UPA government in the controversial VVIP chopper deal.

While speaking to CNN-IBN Khurshid said, "We have attempted to get details but because of procedural issues, which continue even now, there has been a paucity of specific information on which objective decisions could be taken about an investigation."

Asked whether steps were being taken to cancel the deal with AgustaWestland for delivery of helicopters, Khurshid said, the show cause is only the first step, but the government is not committing to cancelling the deal just yet."

To a question whether the names of top dignitaries like the President or Governors coming up in the matter is going effect the case, Khurshid said, "Well, as far as I understand, certainly not, because as I said to you their involvement was entirely on the procedural side and I don't think that could have been a better and a tighter compliances as far as procedures are concerned."

On whether the matter would come up during the upcoming visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron, Khurshid said, "Any further steps that are taken should be taken, keeping in mind, both our entitlement as far as the contracts are concerned and the implications of it for ourselves. If it is found necessary, it will be put on agenda if not, it won't."

In February 2010, India had inked Rs 3,600 crore deal to acquire the 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters from AgustaWestland for IAF's elite Communication Squadron, which ferries the President, PM and other VVIPs.

With the scam unfolding in the deal, the delivery of three helicopters from AgustaWestland scheduled for next month has been put on hold along with the remaining six which were to arrive later.

India has already received three of the 12 helicopters. A CBI team is also being sent to Italy where the CEOs of AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica have been arrested on charges of bribery.

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