New Delhi: The government would do whatever was “lawfully” required in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal and provide the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) any kind of assistance it needed, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Wednesday.
“We had obviously kept in touch with them (Italians) and expected that they would keep us posted so that at an appropriate stage when they give us information that would be useful to use in this country, we would use it,” Khurshid told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
India on Tuesday ordered a CBI probe into the $750 million deal for 12 VVIP AgustaWestland helicopters following the arrest of the chief of its parent company – Italy’s Finmeccanica – on corruption charges in the contract. Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi, who had been under investigation, was arrested in Italy Tuesday.
Asked about the government’s role in the probe, Khurshid said: “There is no such thing as proactive. There is such a thing called lawful. Whatever has to be done through law, should be done. I don’t think that we should do anything that is done to please the opposition or if somebody puts pressure on us. What is lawfully required and lawfully justified, is what would be done, has been done and would be done.”
“I would imagine that if the CBI requires any assistance from government of India, then the government of India would provide it. I think we can’t play hot and cold by saying that the government of India must remain at an arms distance from CBI and yet the government should actually tell CBI what to do,” he said.
The CBI, he said, would make its own investigations. “If the CBI requires any assistance from the government of India directly or through courts, CBI will ask for it and we would respond.”
Reacting to suggestions that this was another Bofors in the making, Khurshid said: “Those who say this is another Bofors will please provide me the final conclusion of the Bofors, including the Supreme Court judgment, and I would say you are right.”
“You were talking rubbish and the courts would say you are talking rubbish. Clearly, many of the allegations that were made in Bofors were finally thrown out of court not by one jurisdiction but by many jurisdictions – in India by the high court, Supreme Court and in several jurisdictions of the world.”
The minister added the government would wait to see the findings of the Italians’ probe in the chopper deal. “There are jurisdictions involved, international law involved. So all this will be examined suitably and at an appropriate time and whatever needs to be done, will be done”