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SC turns down plea to probe chopper deal of Chhattisgarh Govt

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by an NGO seeking a probe into alleged irregularities in the purchase of an AgustaWestland chopper by the Chhattisgarh government for VIP use in 2006-07.

A bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit dismissed the plea by non-governmental organisation Swaraj Abhiyan and others seeking probe into the purchase of the helicopter. “We do not find any grounds to accept the prayer for probe. The petition is dismissed,” the bench said.

They have alleged that there’s a “strong possibility” that money paid as commission in the deal ultimately reached the bank account.

The NGO had said that a proposal of the state in December 2006 said that helicopter firms should be invited to make their representations, but later, no company was called and a tender was issued only for one Agusta Westland chopper.

The court had said it was only concerned as to whether any “fraud” was committed in securing the deal, and made it clear that it was not questioning the choice of the helicopter.

The apex court had on 31 January posed searching questions to the Chhattisgarh government on the purchase of an AgustaWestland helicopter for VIP use in 2006-07 and asked what was the “interest” of chief minister Raman Singh’s son, Abhishek Singh, in this.

The petitioners have alleged that in July 2008, a bank account in the name of ‘Abhishak Singh’ was opened in the British Virgin Islands, and on 1 August, 2008, one of the firms purportedly involved in the deal wound up operations.