Left seeks probe into purchase of U S navy ship

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New Delhi, Mar 17 (UNI) Members belonging to two main Communist parties today demanded a probe into the purchase of United States Navy's ship US Trenton by India in view of objections raised by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha during Zero hour, Mr Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) dubbed the purchase of the US veseel an irresponsible, anti-national and uneconomic corrupt deal" and wondered if it was a political deal to get closer to the United States.

Seeking the government's assurance to the House that it would not henceforth enter into "such dubious deals" with the United States, Mr Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) asked why the government bought the 1971 vintage vessel for 50 million dollars when the U S Navy had decided in 2003 that it was not suitable for modernisation and should be decommissioend in 2006.

The Marxist member further asked why the government accepted the U S condition that the ship, renamed Jalashva by India, would not be deployed for offensive purposes. He also asked why the ship was purchased without any visual inspection, adding whether Indian government knew that three U S sailors had died in a gas leak accident aboard the vessel. Recently, after its induction into Indian Navy, five sailors and a Naval officer, too, died in a similar gas leakage mishap on the vessel, he added.

Seeking a reply from the Prime Minister on the purchase of the ship, Mr Acharia asked if it was done under pressure by the Bush administration.

Several other Left members also echoed the demand.

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