Mumbai: Defence Minister A K Antony today said all members of the Union Cabinet are equal, comments that come in the midst of a stand off between NCP and Congress on issues including power division between the allies.
"There is no senior and junior cabinet minister. All are equal," the Defence Minister said during an interaction with reporters on board the Navy's latest stealth warship INS Sahyadri, which he commissioned here today.
However, NCP maintains that issues with Congress are not over the status for Pawar and that there are other matters. "I have told you that it is a standard practice that in Defence Minister's functions, you don't say anything about
politics," Antony said refusing to answer similar queries.
"This is a completely apolitical function," he said. Asked about cases of corruption in defence procurement, Antony said, "Whenever any charges come, an enquiry is conducted. After an enquiry, if anything is substantiated,
anything found out, we are taking strongest action."
"We are not sparing anybody. We know it very well. We will not tolerate any kind of corruption in the armed forces," the minister said. Replying to a query on concerns raised by former Army chief Gen V K Singh on the country's defence preparedness, Antony said, "That is an old story. In the last six months, I had four rounds of discussions with all senior officers of the
army. Now army procurement is going on quite smoothly."
"Now, we are according topmost priority to modernisation of armed forces," Antony said. On reported leaks of army and air force documents, the
minister said, "On getting the complaint, we referred it to CBI and ED. They are seriously enquiring the whole thing. That is how you got the material."