The conviction of two top former officials of the Finmeccanica and its subsidiary, AgustaWestland, on charges of bribery in the sale of 12 helicopters to India has once again focused on the corruption involved in the defence deal.
The Italian investigation and the court verdict has found that Rs. 360 crores were paid as bribes in India. When this matter came to light after the investigations in Italy, the UPA government had cancelled the contract and ordered a CBI investigation. However, as is evident, no real progress was made in the investigation during the UPA’s tenure.
The CPI(M) had then demanded that the CBI investigation should be supervised by the Supreme Court, only then will the people have confidence that the actual culprits will be brought to book.
After the Modi government came into office, two years have passed. There has been no serious pursuit of investigation and no substantial progress made even though at the Italian end, all the material relevant to the matter has been placed before the appeal court and the verdict given.
The nexus of ruling politicians-bureaucrats and senior military officials is such that despite a number of defence deal scandals, the system of corruption has not been uncovered and guilty punished. Instead of political posturing on the matter, the Modi government should ensure that the investigation is speedily concluded and all those involved in receiving the kickbacks brought to trial and prosecuted.