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AgustaWestland deal: Centre seeks AG's view on questioning Governors

Former Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran had cautioned that Governors cannot be questioned, even as witnesses, till they relinquish their post.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:June 24, 2014, 10:31 PM IST
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AgustaWestland deal: Centre seeks AG's view on questioning Governors
Former Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran had cautioned that Governors cannot be questioned, even as witnesses, till they relinquish their post.

New Delhi: Seeking a fresh opinion on whether serving Governors can be questioned, the government has asked the view of new Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on the issue relating to CBI's plans to quiz two of them as witnesses in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal.

Former Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran had cautioned that Governors cannot be questioned, even as witnesses, till they relinquish their post.

The DoPT is understood to have written to the Law Ministry seeking an opinion from Rohatgi on whether Governors can be questioned as witnesses under CrPC.

All the CBI requests seeking legal opinions are routed through the DoPT.

In the UPA government, the DoPT wanted the AG to give an opinion on the issue, but since the then AG, GE Vahanvati was unwell, the matter was referred to the Solicitor General.

With the new AG taking charge recently, the DoPT now has sought his opinion on the issue.

Parasaran had said the two -- BV Wanchoo and MK Narayanan, the Goa and West Bengal Governors, respectively -- could only be questioned after they relinquish their high constitutional posts.

The CBI wanted to record the statements as part of its probe into the alleged payment of Rs 360 crore as bribe in the deal which was scrapped by the UPA government in January this year.

Narayanan, who was the then National Security Adviser and Wanchoo, as head of the elite Special Protection Group, were reportedly part of meetings where specifications for the helicopters were changed.

The change in "service ceiling" (or the altitude at which a helicopter can fly) from the 6,000 metres suggested by Air Head Quarters to 4,500 metres had allegedly allowed AgustaWestland to enter the race.

So far, the CBI has named former Air Chief SP Tyagi, his cousins and several others, in its First Information Report in the case.

The deal is worth Rs 3,600 crore and was signed in 2010 for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Air Force for ferrying VVIPs including the President, Vice President and the Prime Minister.

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