Manohar Parrikar slams UPA rule over AgustaWestand scam

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday alleged Congress by informing that the efforts were made by the previous UPA government to favour AgustaWestland and attempts were made to “hoodwink” the probe into kickbacks in the chopper deal.

He alleged Congress here at Lok Sabha during a debate on the VVIP chopper scam.

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“The field trials of the chopper were initially opposed by (then defence minister) A.K. Antony. But he was later convinced to change his stand,” said Parrikar.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge among other party members were present in the house during the following debate.

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“Some concessions were given, especially to a single vendor. It was not given to other companies. This showed the favour. The benchmark cost as worked out was euro 727 million, approximately Rs.4,877.50 crore, which is “six times” the estimated project cost of Rs.793 crore, “said Defence Minister.

“Benchmarking in prices during purchase of copters was higher. Even experts feel this was much higher than it should have been,” he added.

Manohar also informs that the scam could have been stopped in 2012.

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