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NDA demands immediate scrapping of Scorpene deal

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 20: Describing the scorpene submarine deal as the biggest scandal of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government which jeopardised India's security, the National Democratic Alliance today (Mar 20, 2006) demanded immediate termination of the Rs 1,800 crore deal and setting up of a credible judicial probe.

Addressing a joint news conference at the residence of Leader of the Opposition L K Advani, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Convener George Fernandes and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Leader Jaswant Singh, both former Defence Ministers, also demanded immediate detention of middleman Abhishek Verma, son of a former Congress MP and his associates.

They said there were many disturbing elements in the Scorpene deal. First, there was the 'War Room leak' in the Naval Headquarters and secondly there was an involvement of certain foreigners and Indian nationals.

Alleging that a four per cent commission worth Rs 500 to 700 crore was paid for getting through the contract, the two leaders said it was a much bigger kickback than what took place in the bofors scandal, which changed politics of this country.

They said Verma, the middleman acting on behalf of the Congress party, already faced investigations, in 12 cases of financial fraud. The French company Thales, the supplier of Scorpene, was a company black-listed by the World Bank and had a history of bribing political leaders around the globe.

Advani said it had been a tendency of this government to find a scapegoat, be it the Volcker revelations or defreezing of Ottavio Quattrocchi's London bank accounts. In Volcker, the UPA had found Natwar singh the scapegoat where as in the defreezing of the bank accounts, it was the CBI which was made to own responsibality .


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