Report on kickbacks in military deal misleading: Govt
The defence ministry on Thursday termed as "misleading" a media report alleging kickbacks to Indian government officials in a deal for procuring spares for AN-32 military aircraft from Ukraine.
The statement from the ministry of defence (MoD) came even as the Congress asked defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to respond to the "serious" allegations that kickbacks to the tune of Rs 17.55 crore were paid for the procurement of the spares of the AN-32 aircraft.
The media report said Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau has sent a request to the ministry of home affairs seeking legal assistance in its probe into the alleged kickbacks.
"It is informed that MoD or IAF has neither interacted nor signed any agreement with Global Marketing SP Ltd, nor were any such agreements witnessed. IAF has also confirmed that Global Marketing SP Ltd has not participated in any of the meetings held towards finalisation of the contract dated November 26, 2014 with STE Ukraine," the ministry said in a statement.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take "immediate action" against "corrupt" officials, citing the media report.
At a press conference, Congress leader Manish Tewari, citing the media report, demanded a response from Sitharaman, saying the allegations were "serious".
He also asked the government to come out with details of the contract and not sweep it under the carpet "as was the case" in the Rafale deal.
The report said the Ukrainian state-run company signed the agreement with the defence ministry (Air Force Headquarters) on November 26, 2014 for supply of the spares and that the company signed another pact with a little-known Global Marketing SP Ltd for its implementation.
The defence ministry said embassy of Ukraine in India had sent a request to Union home ministry and ministry of external affairs on March 6 for legal assistance in investigation of a criminal case filed against officials of Ukraine Government's State Owned Enterprise (STE).
"This is as per international treaty between India and Ukraine. This request contains a list of questions to be answered. There are no allegations against any Indian government official. Government of India has only been requested to render legal assistance," the ministry said.
In the press conference, Tewari raised several questions over the defence deal and sought reply of the government.
The Congress leader said the government "misused" the confidentiality clause and hid behind it following allegations of wrongdoing in the Rafale deal.