Anthony was overruled in Agusta deal, alleges Swamy

Anthony was overruled in Agusta deal, alleges Swamy

Anthony was overruled in Agusta deal, alleges Swamy
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that former defence A K Anthony had been overruled in the AgustaWestland deal.

In January 2006, Air Force had given its benchmark estimate for this deal as Rs 793 crore, which had been approved by Antony, said Swamy taking part in a debate on the chopper controversy.

But in September 2008, the contract negotiations committee arbitrarily fixed Rs 4877.5 crore as the cost of the deal, which was six times more, alleged Swamy and asked who in the UPA government had overruled Anthony.

He also alleged that for the field trials of AgustaWestland choppers, a different helicopter had been used.

UPA government reduced the flying requirement of the VVIP choppers from a height of 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres, alleged Swamy. 

Swamy said the height was reduced to let AgustaWestland in as its choppers could not fly beyond 4500 metres.

Choppers, which carry VVIPs, should fly at heights above 6000 metres to be out of range of shoulder rockets, said Swamy.

Rajya Sabha began a debate on alleged kickbacks given in the purchase of AgustaWestland VVIP helicopters on Wednesday.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the opposition Congress and other key parties are taking part in the debate.

Leading Congress’ defence, Abhishek Manu Singhvi dismissed the charges of corruption levelled by BJP against Congress as baseless.

He read the judgment of the Italian court, which said there was no evidence against Sonia Gandhi except for mentioning her as a person who would fly in these machines.

He was supported by JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, who told BJP not to make false accusations. There were more important issues affecting the nation, which should be discussed in the House, he said. BJP leader Mayawati called for Supreme Court monitored probe into AgustaWestland case.

Live webcast of the debate from Rajya Sabha TV