7 December 2018
AgustaWstland chopper deal is a dead snake in neck of the country
The Socialist Party believes that the Modi government has brought the issue of AgustaWestland chopper deal as a rebuttal of the Rafale aircraft deal, and not to fight corruption. The BJP leaders, including the PM, have explicitly stated that extradition of James Christian Michel will pose a serious crisis for the Congress and its Gandhi-Nehru family. People should understand that the Modi government and most of the media are not telling the public that due to corruption charges, this deal was cancelled by the UPA government. The CBI, National Security Advisor, Enforcement Directorate and the Prime Minister himself took their strength to apprehend Christian Michel, a middleman of the cancelled deal, so that attention of the people can be distracted from the Rafale aircraft scam and other pressing issues of public interest. In fact, the priority of the government should have been to bring back Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi first.
In the case of AgustaWestland, the government and its investigating agency Enforcement Directorate and the CBI say that Michel has given a bribe of Rs. 300 crore to the leaders/officials of the then UPA government and the loss of the country’s revenue was Rs. 2666 crore. In fact, the deal was done to purchase 12 helicopters for the security of the VVIP of the country, in 3600 crores. The allegation is that bribe was given to government officials and Congress leaders to persuade India on helicopters flying altogether up to 4500 meters instead of helicopter flying up to the height of 6000 meters, by AgustaWestland, a joint company of Britain and Italy, and its parent company Finmeccanica. Michel, the middleman, was one who gave the bribe. The other two middlemen were Carlo Gerosa and Guido Hashke. There is also the allegation that a compromise was done with VVIP security.
The Congress leaders of the UPA government are presenting the different aspect with certain facts of the whole episode. The Congress leaders claim that the deal was done in February 2010 at Rs 3,546 crore. Meanwhile, the media reports showed that there was a mess in this matter. The UPA government cancelled the deal in February 2013 and constituted the inquiry. The government also proposed to set up a JPC, but the then opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, refused. In February 2014, the UPA government also banned those two companies. At the same time, the UPA government claimed to have 22.8 million Euros as compensation on those companies in Italy’s court. The UPA government had given the companies 1620 crores for that deal but got a compensation of Rs 2068 crores. The UPA government seized three helicopters of the company which are still in the possession of the Government of India. In this way, a total recovery of Rs. 2954 crores for 1620 crores was done and there was no loss to the treasury.
The Modi government is encouraging those same banned companies to invest in India through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. Therefore, its claim of fighting corruption is hollow.
It is well known that during the tenure of the UPA Government, there have been big scams such as 2 G, Commonwealth and coal. But it took precaution in the case of AgustaWestland and pursue the matter to an end. But the way the present Modi government is presenting it, does not seem to be anything more than the rebuttal of Rafale’s 36,000 crore scam. It is a dead snake, which the Modi government has tried to put in the neck of the country for political advantage.
The Socialist Party appeals to the people that they should avoid being misled and should make their own opinion by understanding the whole case of AgustaWestland. The Socialist Party had opposed the decision of purchasing such expensive helicopters from public funds for VVIP security at the time of decision.
Dr. Prem Singh