SC questions Chhattisgarh's Agusta deal

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would consider if there was any "fraud or hanky-panky" in Chhattisgarh government's decision to buy one AgustaWestland helicopter for VIP use in 2006-2007.

A bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and U U Lalit said it was not questioning the choice of the helicopter made by the state government as it was an executive decision, but wanted it to explain the bid for the chopper.

"You (state government) need to answer a few questions, like explaining the alleged sham bid... why only that particular helicopter, opening of foreign bank account by the son of the chief minister at the time of bidding process," the bench told senior advocates Harish Salve and Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for the state government.

The bench said it will close the case if it found that there was nothing wrong in the process.

The counsel placed the original file relating to the deal and sought time to file an affidavit.

The court was hearing a plea by advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing NGO
Swaraj Abhiyan, seeking an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the purchase of the helicopter and also foreign bank accounts purportedly linked to the son of Chief Minister Raman Singh.

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