Amid controversy over alleged corruption in Rs. 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha today said investigators have the ability to find the money trail and the government will pursue the matter for citizens’ benefit.
“These are investigations that our agencies are undertaking and they are very capable,” Mr Sinha said in response to a question on how confident the government is in proving the money trail to Congress president Sonia Gandhi or if it is just a political aggression.
“They (investigative agencies) have the ability to be able to track down and find out what the money trail is. Of course, we will pursue the matter for the benefit of citizens of the country, wherever the investigation, wherever the evidence may take us,” he said on the sidelines of the Enforcement Directorate Day in New Delhi.
The ruling BJP has been making allegations of involvement of top leaders of the Congress in the chopper deal.
The VVIP chopper deal relates to a 2010 decision of the UPA government to buy 12 helicopters from Italian manufacturer, Finmeccanica, a unit of AgustaWestland.
CBI, in 2013, had registered a case in connection with alleged bribes paid by the firm to Indians to clinch the deal for 12 helicopters to ferry VVIPs, including the president and the prime minister.
With regard to the Rs. 9,000-crore loan default case involving Vijay Mallya, Mr Sinha said these are commercial matters and banks are pursuing these cases.
“It is obviously for them as well as investigative agencies that are pursuing cases against Mallya. We have a very robust as well as a very independent process both on the commercial side as well as on the investigative side,” he said.
Asked if Mr Mallya would be deported to India for prosecution, Mr Sinha replied, “These are government to government matters that have to resolved taking into account laws of both the countries. We have made filing with respect to Mallya and we have to proceed as per the law.”
Earlier this week, India asked the UK to deport Mr Mallya, whose Kingfisher Airlines has been accused of loan default, citing the revocation of his passport and a non-bailable warrant against him.