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Fresh row over Kargil defence deals
April 20, 2005 21:52 IST
A fresh controversy over defence purchases from South Africa during the tenure of former defence minister George Fernandes cropped up in Parliament on Wednesday.
Meanwhile the government agreed to table the Phukan Commission report on the Tehelka expose during the current session.
The government asserted that strict action would be taken against all the officials if it was proved that the 'excuse' of Kargil crisis had been taken to make arms purchases with the motive of 'personal benefits'.
Citing media reports about alleged payment of commission by South African firm Denel to agents in British isles to obtain confidential information on Indian military price negotiations committee on a tender for anti-material rifles in 2003, the issue was raised in Rajya Sabha by a Rashtriya Janata Dal member.
Fernandes was the Defence Minister when these arms purchases from South Africa were made in 2003 as part of infantry modernisation.
"We will look into it," Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.
Law Minister H R Bhardwaj said in the Rajya Sabha that the report, still lying in sealed cover, would now be examined expeditiously and tabled during the current session. "We are not running away," he added.
Mukherjee tabled the statement on affidavits filed before the Supreme Court on Kargil purchases amidst pandemonium in the Lok Sabha.
Treasury bench members waved copies of the newspaper that carried the report about the alleged commission in the South African deal.
Senior opposition members including Leader of Opposition L K Advani and Fernandes demanded that the government place the Phukan commission report as well as the report of the CVC in the House to facilitate a discussion.