Chopper Scam Heat: Govt, Opposition Engage in War of Words

The AgustaWestland chopper deal on Wednesday triggered a stormy debate and trading of charges in the Rajya Sabha.

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The controversial AgustaWestland chopper deal today triggered a stormy debate and trading of charges in the Rajya Sabha with the entire opposition pressing for a Supreme Court-monitored probe while Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar spoke of an “invisible hand” in preventing an investigation in UPA tenure.

Newly-nominated BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who was fielded by the ruling side, demanded recording of statement from former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with others named in the judgement of an Italian court recently.

The ruling and the opposition benches clashed repeatedly as the House took up a short-duration discussion on the raging row over the Rs 3600 crore deal in the wake of an Italian court’s judgement in which certain initials like “AP” have been recorded.

The five-hour debate ended with a walkout by Congress after its demand for SC-monitored probe was rejected by the government. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad described as an “insult” the Defence Minister reading out a prepared statement in his reply and said it contained only allegations.

While replying to the debate, Parrikar said the ongoing probe will focus on those named in the Italian Court judgement even as he suggested the role of an “invisible hand” in preventing a proper investigation earlier.

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