New Delhi: Speaking to NewsX in an exclusive interview on two years of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) assuming power in India, Manohar Parrikar reminisced that the situation of the country’s defence policy was rigid and there was a total freeze on policy decisions. Asked whether the defence ministry was in poor shape when Parrikar rose to incumbency, the Defence Minister made a curt reply, “There was no shape.”
Pertaining to the explosive subject of AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar exclaimed that there was an undeniable presence of graft, and a thorough investigation of the matter would soon entail for direct charges against ‘big names’.
Parrikar’s perception of his predecessor AK Anthony was one that was of disapproval, and he interjected the fact that Anthony was remote-controlled and always tried to maintain an image of probity around him. Parrikar said that Anthony did not take any decisions and was inactive until the “fire struck his own feet”. “Then he reacted in an alarming manner,” said the minister.
About the AgustaWestland which ‘blew up’ the parliament and prolonged the fight of accusation for weeks, Parrikar said that there was proper evidence in the scam which was good enough for prosecution. However, the individuals whose names will be revealed will entirely depend upon the investigation, he stated.
The Defence Minister claimed that the AgustaWestland scam had gathered pace after the Modi government came into power. He claimed that after 8 days of the election, an investigation had been conducted in the case which was followed by raids, confiscation of money, issuance of red corner notices, etc. “The main reason it got delayed was because of the Italian lower court only recognising tax evasion scam and not the bribery scam,” he said.
Parrikar made a startling revelation about the ministers who were rewarded for involving themselves in the loop. Not making any confirmation of their culpability, the Defence Minister said that the ministers had been rewarded with higher and more covert positions in the government.
On Finmeccanica – the accused company in the AgustaWestland issue – and the question of its active involvement with the current government, Parrikar said that the company had been blacklisted only by the Defence Ministry and not by the government, which procures different products from the company for civil purposes.
(Watch video for full interview.)