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Issue No.: 550 | April 2013

The Helicopter Deal

Ashok Karnik
Only when the scandal exploded in Italy that our Government accepted that something was wrong somewhere

3.     The Augusta Westland Helicopter deal got exposed not through the vigilance of our agencies but because of the expose in Italy. The Tyagi family, including the former IAF Chief, has been named as probable beneficiaries. This is shameful and alarming. It damages the reputation of the Air Force, not only of its Chief. We no longer know who is guilty and who is not. In the ‘copter scam, a lot of names are being bandied about: Brajesh Mishra, Pranab Mukherjee, M. K.Narayanan, B. V. Wanchoo. All respected men but connected with prescribing the specifications for the helicopters. Anybody in their position would have had to give their opinion as to the copter requirements. Brajesh Mishra’s suggestion to avoid a single supplier situation should have been taken as a welcome step, intended to avoid favoritism, not the opposite. It is difficult to draw a money trail of the bribes because such operations are so masked as to require an investigative agency months to name the beneficiaries. The CBI record does not instill confidence that it would do the job effectively. 

3.      The disturbing thing is that although the scam was suspected a year back, the Government did nothing and in fact tried to cover it up. Its argument that it had no evidence against anybody in India to start an inquiry was laughable; if you do not inquire, how can you get evidence? Only when the scandal exploded in Italy that our Government accepted that something was wrong somewhere. The Government’s reluctance to punish the guilty creates a doubt about its intentions. We have no plea bargaining system so that the accused has no alternative but to plead total innocence. Witness all the Tyagis and Khaitans pleading total innocence even when documents are unearthed mentioning their involvement. There is no easy way out in our judicial system; the trials would continue for years so that there is no satisfaction of closure for anybody. We would have forgotten what it was all about if, and when, the case is finally decided. Until then corruption would seem to have escaped punishment. We expected the Italian court to provide us documents when the CBI had yet to register even an FIR. The fact is that bribe takers are in India and it is our business to punish them.






Other Articles in this Issue


Water Thievery - Cause of Droughts in Maharashtra

Sharad Joshi

Main Feature

Budget 2013 – An Elaborate Exercise in Denial

M. R. Venkatesh

Twelfth Plan and the 2013-14 Budget - 3

Sunil S. Bhandare

Reflections: The Gang Rape and After

The New Delhi Protest

Nitin G. Raut

Justice Verma Committee Report

Suresh Sharma

Death of a Rapist

Ashok Karnik

Reflections: A Flawed Democracy

Are We Really Free?

Firoze Hirjikaka

A Travesty of Justice!

H. R. Bapu Satyanarayana

'Trousering’ a Brown Envelope in Myanmar and Communal Politics in Britain

Professor Christie Davies

Reflections: In the midst of Blasts, Turf wars continue

National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC)

Ashok Karnik

Foreign Relations

Terrorism Strikes Again, and Again, and Yet Again

B. Ramesh Babu


Preamble to a Farce

Firoze Hirjikaka

The Art of Giving

Firoze Hirjikaka

Point Counterpoint

Terror Strikes Again!

Ashok Karnik

Phone Tapping and CDRS

Ashok Karnik

The Helicopter Deal

Ashok Karnik


Disenchanting India: Organised Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India By Johannes Quack

Reviewed by Prabhakar Nanawaty

Educating Adults

The Right to Education Act (10)

Suresh Sharma

Children First Party of India Debut

Dilip Thakore

My Mother Pramila

R. C. Saxena

Anandi Gopal Joshi

B. M. N. Murthy

Maha Kumbh: Time to Come Clean

Sunita Narain


Freedom First, this month in April 1956


In Memoriam

Professor P. V. Indiresan, R.I.P


Viren J. Shah, R.I.P


Remembering Hari Shankar Singhania


From Our Readers

Perpetuating the Status-Quo

Kaiser Ansary

Yet another Strike!

Kaiser Ansary

India’s Growing Leadership ‘deficit’

Saratchandra Panda, Bhubaneshwar

In case you have not heard this one

The Hijacking of Wharton

Rajiv Malhotra


an African child
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