Yes, Agusta deal was marked by corruption, says Defence Minister

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Yes, Agusta deal was marked by corruption, says Defence Minister

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Kochi:  Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday confirmed that corruption had taken place in the controversial helicopter deal with Italian company AgustaWestland. He added that a new defence procurement policy would soon be ready.

"Yes, corruption has taken place in the helicopter deal and bribes have been taken. The CBI is pursuing the case very vigorously," Mr Antony told reporters in Kochi.

As soon reports first surfaced of alleged corruption in the deal, the defence ministry ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation to probe if kickbacks were paid to Indian middlemen in the Rs.3,700 crore deal to buy 12 high-security VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland.

"Please wait for some more time, and there is no doubt very strict action would be taken against those who are involved," Mr Antony said, adding that a new defence procurement policy would be announced very shortly.

"We have been emphasising on indigenisation in defence procurement and the new policy preparation has reached the final stages, and will spell out all such things," Mr Antony said.



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