Public Accounts Committee To Examine Chopper Deal: Chairman KV Thomas

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Public Accounts Committee To Examine Chopper Deal: Chairman KV Thomas

KV Thomas said the PAC, when it was headed by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, had examined the report of the CAG in 2013 on the deal. (PTI file photo)

Kochi:  Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is ready to examine the CAG report on the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal, its chairman KV Thomas said today.
     
"The PAC is ready to examine all issues, including acquisition of helicopters for VVIPs," Mr Thomas told news agency PTI.
    
He said the PAC, when it was headed by his predecessor and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, had examined the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in 2013 on the deal but "he could not find anything illegal" in it.
     
"If there is something more, we are ready to examine. We are not running away from responsibility," the senior Congress leader said over phone after chairing a meeting of the officials in the PAC.

He said over 173 items based on various reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), pertaining to several ministries and departments, have been proposed by the members for the panel's examination in the year 2016-17.
      
In the first meeting of the newly-constituted PAC, a strong demand was made by members of BJP to take up the CAG report on the VVIP chopper deal.
      
Signalling a political tug of war ahead, the first meeting of PAC on May 18 had seen a strong demand from BJP members to take up the AgustaWestland issue while a Congress member had asked the parliamentary audit panel to examine the implementation of the prime ministers pet Make in India scheme.
     
In the meeting that was called to decide on subjects to be taken up during its one year-tenure, Vijay Goel (BJP) had said the PAC should take up the 2013 CAG report on "irregularities" in the VVIP chopper deal.
     
On the AgustaWestland issue, CAG had submitted a report in August 2013, concluding that the process from framing of quality requirements to the conclusion of the contract of the VVIP choppers, differed from established procurement procedures.
    
The report came before PAC of that time, which was then headed by BJPs Murli Manohar Joshi, but it did not take up the issue.
     
The argument of Congress members was that PAC chairman could have taken up the issue then had there been anything substantial to pin-point bribing of any politician.

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