PAC to examine CAG report on AgustaWestland

PAC to examine CAG report on AgustaWestland
After bickering over it, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will now examine the government auditor’s controversial report on the purchase of AgustaWestland helicopters.

The PAC, chaired by senior Congress leader K V Thomas, has also selected the much debated issue of rising non-performing assets of banks and public institutions and over hundred issues based on suggestions of the members of the committee.

At the first meeting of the re-constituted Committee on May 18, BJP members had insisted on taking up the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the AgustaWestland deal. Thomas had then taken the plea that the report was presented to Parliament in 2013 and the then PAC headed by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi had decided not to take it up for examination.

PAC sources said the Committee would take up issues from this list of 106 subjects selected for examination during the year 2016-17.

“The PAC cannot take up all the subjects selected for examination. Subjects would be decided by consensus,” the sources said. They added that issues pertaining to rising non-performing assets of banks and telecom spectrum would be taken up for examination at the meeting of the Committee next week.

The recently concluded Budget Session of the Parliament witnessed a slugfest between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress over the alleged irregularities in the purchase of the VVIP choppers.

The deal was finalised and subsequently cancelled during the previous UPA regime after allegations of kickbacks given by helicopter manufacturers to government officials.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had told Parliament that the government was determined to track down the beneficiaries of the kickbacks. “We can do what we could not do in the Bofors case,” Parrikar had said in the Lok Sabha.

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