February 27, 2013
Trinamool Congress`s stand on VVIP Helicopter Scam
Excerpts of the speech delivered by Trinamool MP Mr. Sukhendu Sekhar Roy at RS:
The VVIP helicopter scam is one of the series of scams that has surfaced in recent times, including the 2G scam, the CWC scam, the Coalgate scam and now the Choppergate.
The Hon. Prime Minister has recently reminded us that money doesn`t grow on trees. But now it appears that the money grows on 2G spectrum, money grows on the stadia, money grows on the coal blocks and money grows on VVIP helicopters too. With the recent revelations of about Rs.350 crores paid as kickbacks to some of the Indians, including a former IAF chief in the deal of 12 Italian helicopters, the hon. Defence Minister said that if the report of paying kickbacks was true, the contract would be cancelled; and the persons involved in the scam would be sent to jail. But till today no arrest has been made in India in spite of the assurance given to the nation by the hon. Defence Minister. Now, according to media reports, the CBI has reportedly received credible information and leads in this regard. In spite of that no action has been initiated against any person as yet. This House doesn`t know about the action taken in this regard. Moreover, surprisingly, the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Defence Ministry has not yet submitted any report to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) although the CVC has asked for a detailed report four months back. I would request the hon. Defence Minister to apprise the House that why the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Defence Ministry has not yet submitted the report to the Central Vigilance Commission in spite of the requisition made by it. At whose instance he is conspicuously sitting over the issue.
My next point is that the senior officers of the Defence Ministry have claimed that our DRDO are in a position to manufacture this type of VVIP helicopter indigenously. Then, what prompted the Government for executing the contract in 2010 with the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by the Prime Minister; and that too with a country which is known as a land of fascist, and as a land of mafia. I would like to put a question to the hon. Defence Minister. Who is the mafia behind this particular case? The hon. Prime Minister is also on record saying that he had expressed his concern to the visiting British Prime Minister about the chopper deal and the involvement of some people of Great Britain also. This House has a right to know what transpired between our Prime Minister and the British Prime Minister because in some of the media the British Prime Minister reportedly said, `If there are unacceptable practices, then that needs to be dealt with.` That is all. So who will deal with it? Would the British Government share information with the Indian Government or not? Would the British Government take action against persons like Christian Michel, one of the main accused based in London? What action is the British Government going to take against him? What is the Indian Government doing in this regard? Who will bring him to justice? That is the moot question. India has reportedly issued a show cause notice to Agusta Westland regarding cancellation of the contract. It has also been reported that the Minister of External Affairs is not in favour of cancellation of the contract. Why? We do not know it. But later he has denied it. What is the truth about it, we do not know. The Minister of Defence has said that a show cause notice would be issued. It appeared in the media. As this House has not been given information, we have to depend on media reports. The show cause notice has been issued. We would like to know whether any reply has been given by the Agusta Westland Company to the show cause notice issued by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. If yes, what have they stated in their reply? Everything should be placed on the Table of the House. This House should be made known about each and every information regarding this scam about which the whole nation is concerned.
Finally, I would like to submit that all of us know very well that Shri A.K Antony, Minister of Defence, is a man of integrity and high moral standards. In spite of the fact that a series of defence scams have occurred during his tenure, still we regard him as a man of integrity and high moral standards. Therefore, I would request Shri A.K. Antony to look at the history of his own Party and what Lal Bahadur Shastri did on 7th December, 1956. Taking moral responsibility of a railway accident occurred in Tamil Nadu, Shastriji resigned as Railway Minister. Pt. Nehru, while speaking in Lok Sabha, said, `I am accepting the resignation of Shastriji because it would set an example in constitutional propriety and not because Shastriji was in any way responsible for the accident`. Sir, way back in 1956, to set an example of constitutional propriety, Lal Bahadur Shastri took the moral responsibility and resigned which was applauded, accepted and appreciated by the whole nation and there is no parallel to it. Therefore, I request Shri Antony to take moral responsibility and resign from this post forthwith. That will set a historic example. That will be the finest thing at this crucial hour. Thank you.