Public Accounts Committee to examine Agusta deal

SansadTV Bureau
File photo of Public Accounts Committees field tour. PTI

File photo of Public Accounts Committees field tour. PTI

A joint committee of both houses of Parliament will take up the contentious AgustaWestland case after CAG report tabled recently in parliament made observations about the VVIP chopper deal.

A member of the committee said that the panel is likely to take up the chopper scam as the Comptroller and Auditor General had made some adverse comments against it in its report in the past which is already with Parliament.

“A decision on the issues to be taken up by the PAC this time will be finalized in our first meeting likely in a fortnight after the end of the session. We are keen that AgustaWestland issue is taken up and it will be taken up,” the member said.

Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament is headed by Congress leader K V Thomas reconstituted last week after its term ended on April 30. The panel is also likely to continue with its inquiry into some aspects of 2G scam, Commonwealth Games scam and the issue of burgeoning Non Performing Assets (NPAs) of Public Sector Banks.

“Usually PAC takes up any issue the CAG has examined after it submits its report in Parliament. Sometimes the PAC takes any issue suo moto as well like the last PAC did in case of NPA,” said Thomas who is heading the PAC.

FILE: New Delhi: A file photo of AgustaWestland (AW101) VVIP Airforce Helicopter. Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: A file photo of AgustaWestland (AW101) VVIP Airforce Helicopter.
Photo – PTI

Pressed further whether the PAC will take up the  AgustaWestland issue, Thomas evaded a direct reply, saying “All these issues will be decided when the PAC meets.”

The CAG had submitted a report on the acquisition of the VVIP helicopters on August 13, 2013, concluding that the process, from framing of quality requirements to the conclusion of the contract, differed from established procurement procedures.

The CAG findings were widely referred to when the issue was discussed in Parliament this week with both the ruling and the Opposition benches trying to browbeat each other.

The reconstituted PAC, which will have a term of one year starting from May 1 this year to April 30, 2017, is yet to hold its first meeting.

The 21-member reconstituted panel has seven members from Rajya Sabha—Naresh Agrawal, Satyavrat Chaturvedi Bhubaneswar Kalita, Shantaram Naik (Congress), Vijay Goel, Ajay Sancheti (BJP) and Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC).

It has 15 members from Lok Sabha including Kirit Somaiya, Anurag Singh Thakur, Nishikant Dubey, Janardan Singh Sigriwal, Riti Pathak, Abhishek Singh, Shivkumar C Udasi (BJP), Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC), Prem Singh Chandumajra (Akali Dal), nominated MP from Kerala Richard Hay, Gajanan Chandrakant Kirtikar (Shiv Sena), Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), Neiphiu Rioh (Nagaland Peoples Front) and P Venugopal (AIADMK).