What is the ‘secret deal’ entered into between Modi Govt & Agusta/Finmeccanica?

Indian opposition party Congress demanded answers from the government over reports of the lifting of a ban on procurement from Finmeccanica company, which had been called corrupt by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leaders over the Agusta choppers deal in 2014, a PTI report said.

In a series of tweets in Hindi Monday, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked: “What is the ‘secret deal’ entered into between Modi Govt & Agusta/Finmeccanica? Is it now ok to deal with a company that Modi ji & his Govt called ‘corrupt-bribe giver-bogus’?”

Citing reports that the PM Modi-led government is lifting the ban on procurement from Finmeccanica, he added: “Does it mean that fake bogey of corruption is being given a quiet burial? The nation awaits answers.”

Government sources told ANI on Sunday that the ban has been lifted in dealings with the company with conditions. As per the decision, the investigation against the company by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate would continue.

“The company would also not be allowed to make any financial claims from the Government of India based on any agreements signed earlier and it will have to start afresh after the ban is lifted,” said a source.

India had put on hold dealings with the company in 2013-14 during the tenure of the UPA government when European agencies arrested individuals for their role in a Rs 3,600 crore deal to supply 12 AW-101 helicopters to India for ferrying VVIPs, ANI reported.

The sources further said the decision was made by the defence ministry based on a request from the Italian firm and after consulting the law ministry and other agencies.

At the time, the BJP had attacked the Congress, asking if its leaders had received an alleged Rs 450 crore bribe money for the deal signed during the UPA-II government.