Chopper Scam: Now President Pranab Mukherjee to be grilled?

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Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Feb 15: President of India, Pranab Mukherjee landed in a new controversy following the fact-sheet submitted by the UPA government on AgustaWestland Chopper deal scam. According to the fact-sheet, the infamous deal was finalised during Mr Mukherjee's tenure as Defence Minister in 2005.

According to the reports which were published on Friday, Feb 15, the then defence minister Mr Mukherjee cleared the the deal with Italian defence firm Finmeccanica for supplying 12 choppers for the use of VVIPs.

With the latest revelation in the Chopper scam, here raised the questions, will the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) question Mr Mukherjee for his approval to the project or he will be let off following the immunity bestowed on the President.

The UPA fact-sheet also named NDA along with the then National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra. The report accused Mr Mishra of writing to Mr Mukherjee that the existing rules were unfair as it allowed only single bidding and that the qualifying height of the choppers should be reduced from 18,000 feet to at least 14,000 feet.

The report also said that altitude requirements were brought down from 6,000 to 4,500 metres after a meeting between Mr Mishra and the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The former allegedly had urged the latter to change the norms to include more bidders.

According to the fact-sheet, UPA, after coming to power, had made few changes in requirements following several consultation with IAF, SPG, NSA and Defence Ministry.

AgustaWestland was one of three companies who had responded following the new tender. The Cabinet Committee on Security cleared the deal on Jan 18, 2010.

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