Dragging Rahul Gandhi into chopper deal baseless: Antony

Defence Minister A.K. Antony Saturday described as baseless allegations that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was involved in the $750 million VVIP chopper deal.

"It is a baseless allegation. Let the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) report come out. Whoever is guilty will be punished," Antony said when asked about the BJP dragging Rahul Gandhi's name in the chopper scam.

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya Friday dragged Rahul Gandhi's name in the chopper deal for 12 VVIP AgustaWestland helicopters and accused his key political aide Kanishka Singh of making profits from the contract.

In a letter to the CBI director, Somaiya stated that Emaar MGF Land Ltd., which is owned by Singh's relatives, made profits from the deal.

Somaiya alleged that the main commission agent Christian Michel's late father was "close to the Congress party" and the other middleman, Guido Ralph Haschke, was a director of Emaar MGF.

"We have nothing to hide (on the chopper deal). The CBI is probing that," the defence minister, who is in Meghalaya on an election campaign, told IANS.

Antony said that "making allegations and taking judgment positions at this juncture is not correct".

The CBI is likely to send a team to Italy within a week to probe the alleged 51 million euros crore kickbacks paid by Finmeccanica to clinch the deal.

The ministry of defence said it has "initiated action for cancellation of contract for procurement of 12 AW101 helicopters for the use of VVIPs".

It also issued a formal show cause notice to AgustaWestland, the subsidiary of Finmeccanica, seeking cancellation of contract and "taking other actions as per the terms of the contract and the Integrity Pact".

The company has been given seven days to reply.

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