Agusta deal payment was cleared hurriedly
The probe into Agusta chopper deal may have brought out some new facts into the public domain about the involvement of top ranking officials in India but the deal was cleared in a record short period as former Defence Minister A K Antony’s office had put tremendous pressure on Defence Finance.
Going by the track record, the Agusta case is most likely meet the same fate as it has been all defence deals in the past because the sinners happened to belong to a political party and they have finest brains to assist them in judicial process as how to escape the long arms of law.
In India this is not new but this is the only case in which there are some top guns who have been bribed with impunity and the top UPA leadership which was neck deep into scandals and bribery were well paid, in case of Agusta, twice under different heads.
The manner Agusta deal was cleared was shocking and the chief of then Defence Finance had at one point offered to resign from her post.
Antony’s office had frequently made calls to defence finance to clear the deal within the span of 10 days. Normally the defence deals after being cleared by the Cabinet takes 45 days for making first instalment of the payment as an advance money.
In most cases it takes 90 days to 120 days minimum to clear such a mega deal but under pressure from the minister’s office the head of Defence Finance just cleared it after showing mild protest.
Since the entire Defence Ministry was involved in the bribery format, nobody ever bothered to read the noting about the deal made by the defence finance.
The deal was cleared without securing even proper bank guarantees. The bank guarantees were trifurcated in which the first one was made through Indian bank but others were done through foreign banks because the fear was if there is any scandal then foreign banks will not be obliged to entertain Indian government’s request.
This is what had happened precisely after the Italian government initiated the investigation against the Agusta company.
In the capital, even a former colonial master’s high commission was reduced to a den where thugs used to take shelter to conduct their operations and host parties in which seductive service providers can mesmerise the Indian officials.
The Agusta deal was not only cleared in a quick time but some officials for also had secured paid holidays with their families. The Military Intelligence unit no 10 had formally reported to former Defence Minister A K Antony, yet no action was ever taken except false promises of stern actions are being taken.
In fact, most of the money trails in Agusta deal can be easy to find out provided the present government is serious about it because no defence deal can ever be done without the Defence Ministry officials and their involvement. If they can be probed all facts will come out openly.
If the former IAF chief was found to be involved then what about the officials of Defence Ministry. Because one officer will always protect the other no matter in service or in golfing. Thus, no probe can ever be done.
The main MoD official who orchestrated the deal was later even rewarded with a plum post of Chief Vigilance Commissioner. Nothing can be more farcical than what the Congress did to protect the sinners.
The Defence Finance head and the Finance Ministry officials who cleared the financial aspect of the deal must be investigated.
The government should initiate a judicial probe with setting up an SIT and all the Defence Ministry officials should be called to depose about their respective role.