Agusta linked people given “good positions”:Parrikar

SansadTV Bureau
File Photo of AugustaWestland Chopper.PTI

File Photo of AugustaWestland Chopper.PTI

In a bid to buttress the allegations of Congress’ involvement in AgustaWestland scam, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said that all those who were linked to the tainted VVIP chopper deal were given “good positions” following their retirement.

“Many people who had some links with Agusta, I am not saying illegitimate links, but some links with Agusta procurement and supply, were given good positions,” said Parrikar.

Asserting that they were good to the powers at that time, he said, “They were close to the powers at that time. They were favourites. So obviously, they were placed there to ensure this deal goes through. It is indirect evidence.”

However, he said it was for the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to decide whether to question the people concerned or not.

He was asked to elaborate on his remarks that people linked to Agusta deal were given governorship, ambassadorship among others.

He had made the remarks during an interaction with media.

“If you see, many people from there (Agusta days) are sitting in good positions. Someone became governor, someone became an ambassador, I am not questioning them but one has become constitutional authority…..(These) people are at good positions….

“Who do you make an Ambassador? Who do you make a constitutional authority? Only those whom you trust. It proves that they believed in them otherwise they would not be in positions,” he had told a TV channel.

Several top officials including the then NSA M K Narayanan (former Governor of West Bengal), the then SPG Chief BV Wanchoo (former Governor of Goa), current Comptroller and Auditor General and former Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, who was involved in the matter as then Joint Secretary (air), were all involved in decision making process that eventually led to the selection of the AgustaWestland choppers.

Former Air Force Chief N A K Browne, currently India’s Ambassador to Norway, has strongly refuted as “baseless and malicious” reports that he was a “common link” in three major defence deals involving AgustaWestland, Rafale and Pilatus aircraft.

Browne said that he had nothing to do with these deals and none of them have been signed during his tenure as IAF chief.

(With inputs from PTI)