Congress questions lift of ban on Italian defence firm linked to VVIP chopper scam

Insight Online News

New Delhi, Nov 8 : Congress on Monday raised questions on the lift of ban on Italian defence giant Leonardo SPA, formerly Leonardo-Finmeccanica and originally Finmeccanica, which was blacklisted following the VVIP chopper scam.

According to defence ministry officials, the ban on business dealings with Leonardo SPA, an Italian multinational company specialising in aerospace, defence and security, has been lifted but with certain conditions.

“PM called the company “corrupt”. HM called the company “bogus”. EX Defense Minister accused it of “bribes & corruption” in Parliament. Then, Modi Govt withdrew blacklisting of Augusta/Finmecanica on 22nd July 2014. Now, lifted procurement ban. What is the “secret deal” entered into between Modi Govt & Augusta/Finmeccanica?” Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala questioned in a tweet.

“Is it now ok to deal with a company that Modi ji & his Govt called “corrupt-bribe giver-bogus”? Does it mean that fake bogey of corruption is being given a quite burial? Nation awaits answers!” Surjewala said.

Finmeccanica was the parent company of AgustaWestland, which was enmeshed in the Rs 3,546 crore VVIP helicopter scam. In February 2013, the defence ministry ordered a CBI probe in the deal, following the arrest of its manufacturer Finmeccanica’s chief on charges of graft in the contract in Italy. The CBI probe is yet to be concluded.


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