Probe More, Accuse Less on Chopper Deal
The AgustaWestland chopper deal is costing the nation far more than people seem to appreciate. It is holding up precious Parliament time. Worse, it is vitiating the atmosphere and spoiling the chances of any cooperation between the ruling and Opposition sides to make progress on serious legislative business. It falls to the government of the day to take the initiative to create consensus within the House on its agenda and get things moving. Instead of focusing on trying to make transition to a goods and services tax regime a reality and getting the bankruptcy Bill passed, the government seems to be prioritising political attacks on the Opposition. The reality is that the chopper deal had been scrapped by the UPA government after allegations of payoffs surfaced, a probe ordered and Agusta blacklisted. After the new government came to office, the probe failed to make progress and the company has been allowed, once again, to take part in supplying gear to the Indian armed forces. This does not show a serious approach to investigating charges of malfeasance in the deal. The sensible thing for the government to do is to focus on prosecuting the inquiry into the bribery charges and getting to the bottom of things. Picking on references to Congress leaders, particularly the Gandhis, as influential people who should be approached to swing the deal by a lobbyist to claim that an Italian court order had implicated the Gandhis is not only to play politics but also to show scant respect to the intelligence of the public. Press ahead with the probe, make it time-bound and find out who took money. Focus energies on establishing the identity of the guilty, rather than on targeting Opposition leaders. Avoidable confrontation only serves to abort legislation that the economy desperately needs.