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Augusta Westland Corruption
Why Government Must Cancel Deal!
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
Recently the cabinet was in two minds whether or not to cancel the Augusta Westland helicopter deal in which serious corruption allegations have surfaced. Reportedly the Defence Ministry favoured cancellation while the Ministry of External Affairs was against it. Official sources even leaked to the media that Defence Minister Mr. AK Antony was threatening to resign. Subsequently Mr. Antony turned turtle and said that he would not resign but perform his duty as the Minister. He echoed the Prime Minister to assert that there was nothing to hide and he would face any debate in parliament. It matters little which side in the cabinet relented. What needs to be seen is what happens to the helicopter deal.
In the long term would it not be better to cleanse once and for all the system operated by a murky mafia that has monopolized not only defence contracts but all deals involving procurement from abroad? Reform is required in order to legitimize consultants allowed payment for services rendered in totally transparent fashion. Instead of paying commission that is a percentage of the contract it might be better to pay them a fixed fee negotiated at the outset. That would not create an incentive to enhance the quantum of the contract. One fee might be fixed for ongoing services and the remaining if the contract is obtained.
I venture to suggest that had the government acted then the arrests in Italy would have occurred much earlier.
Mr. Cameron if he puts his mind to it has enough leverage with Italy to deliver this. If Britain and India are to expand a mutually satisfying commercial and cultural partnership in the years ahead this must be done for sake of both nations.
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