New Delhi: Speaking to NewsX exclusively on the matter of the AgustaWestland deal and the accusations being levied on the then-in-power Congress party, former Defence Minister AK Antony said that the government was sitting upon the continuing probe of the CBI and was sand-washing the current crises plaguing the country.
AK Antony confessed that there were middlemen in the chopper transaction which amounted to more than Rs 3,000 crores. Antony said that they had signed a Pre-Contract Integrity Pact with the company which assured them an absence of any corrupt practices and middlemen in the deal.
“But there was proof that there were middlemen. Then we took actions; we cancelled the deal on 1st April 2014. We received the amount we had asked them to return,” said Antony, also acknowledging the fact that the court in Milan had reimbursed India with an additional amount on top of it.
On Sonia Gandhi who has made headlines since the row erupted, the former defence minister said that no witnesses in the CBI probe had mentioned any names. He added that the government had immediately sent officials to Naples to record the court proceedings on the chopper deal.
“The government in power right now has all the information. They have been in power for the last two years,” Antony said, and he also challenged the government to punish the accused behind the deal.
AK Antony also exclaimed that the company which had bribed SP Tyagi and his relatives to swing the chopper deal towards them was now being allowed to take part in the Make in India initiative by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“My challenge is, complete the enquiry and arrest the guilty,” Antony said on the interview.
The AgustaWestland deal shot up to nation-wide attention when in 2014, a court in Naples discovered that middlemen in the deal were involved in bribing SP Tyagi to swing the chopper deal from the US to their side. An over-estimation of the technical capabilities of the chopper had landed them the deal.