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Will Go After The 'Big Fish' in Agusta Chopper Scam: Parrikar

File photo of AgustaWestland chopper.

File photo of AgustaWestland chopper.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said there were rules that were tweaked to favour the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said the government will go after the "big fishes" who got the rules tweaked during the previous rule to favour the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

"There are definitely some small fish. But, there will also be some big fish. We will try and best to ensure we get to the money trail," Parrikar told CNN-News18 in an interview.

When asked how he was convinced there were "big fish", the Defence Minister said: "Obviously there were, as rules were tweaked to favour Agusta. Which Antony otherwise would not have done. Unless, someone was overseeing this."

Earlier, in a hard-hitting speech in the Lok Sabha, he said the "entire corruption" in the deal took place during the UPA tenure, that former Air chief SP Tyagi and Gautam Khaitan are "small people" who "simply washed their hands in a flowing ganga (of corruption)" and that the government will "find out where the river was going".

He said while the decision on the contract was taken in 2010, Tyagi had retired in 2007 and "might have got just a 'chillar' (small change)".

'Will Do In Agusta, What We Couldn't Do in Bofors'

Clearly aiming for the Congress top leadership, Parrikar said, "The truth may lead to many unwanted realities. What we could not do in Bofors, may be we will do it in AgustaWestland," Parrikar said while replying to a debate on the Calling Attention Motion.

He asserted that the government will recover damages to the tune of 398 million euros as well as the bribe allegedly paid to Indian agents.

Loopholes in Agusta Deal

Finding loopholes in the Rs 3600 crore deal for purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters, Parrikar said the tender was submitted by Italy-based AgustaWestland but the contract was given to the UK-based Agusta Westland International Ltd (AWIL).

"I am shocked, how could you accept order from a company who has not given tender? They lost sense of proportion. They thought they will be in power for ever," he said.

first published:May 07, 2016, 00:21 IST