Live: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar responds to debate on chopper deal

New Delhi:Parliament proceedings in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha started at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The Telecom Minister announced that BSNL for the first time has posted Rs.670 crore profit. He said that 673 mobile towers are to be installed in the Northeast States. Various other issues, including a gang rape in Kerala and farmers’ suicide in Punjab, were also raised in the Houses.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar spaeks in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Here are the live updates:

6.33 pm: Opposition accuses Parrikar of misleading the House

6.29 pm: Parrikar lists “violations” in deal, amid Opposition protest.

6.28 pm: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar responds to debate pon VVIP chopper deal in the Rajya Sabha.

6.22 pm: Swamy ji, if you have all evidence, take action but don’t threaten us, don’t blackmail us, says Antony.

6.21 pm: You will not win against us if you try to score political points, says Antony.

6.21 pm: Please don’t involve them in any Make in India projects, says Antony.

6.20 pm: Now, it is proved beyond doubt there was corruption in chopper deal, act now, Antony tells govt.

6.19 pm: You have to act now. All legal hurdles are over. You have to speed up arbitration proceedings. Conduct the case to get more compensation, says Antony tells govt.

6.15 pm: Immediatlely after the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi, we handed over the probe to CBI, says Antony

6.14 pm: MoD under UPA we were prompt in taking action, says Antony

6.13 pm: From Day 1 after the news broke of allegations we are pursuing the case, says former Defence Minister A.K. Antony

6.12 pm: Congress leader Ahmed Patel says he will quit Rajya Sabha and public life if any charges against him in AgustaWestland chopper deal are proved.

5.40 pm: “The govt should authenticate these allegations related to chopper deal,” adds Sharma.

5.30 pm: “We will fight and expose their agenda,” says Anand Sharma

5.05 pm: Kurien gave the ruling of authentication to Swamy.

4.55 pm: The Rajya Sabha witnesses uproar following allegations by Swamy.

4.50 pm: “The field trials should be on the aircraft that’s being bought. They used another helicopter for the trials,” says Swamy.

4.40 pm: The CBI has the right to speak to the person against whom allegations have been made: Swamy

4.35 pm: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy says, “The govt spent an additional amount of Rs.1200 crore. The Air Force said that the benchmark for the deal was Rs. 793 crore, which was approved by Mr. Antony. But in Sept. 2008, a committee arbitrarily fixed Rs. 4877.5 crore, which is six times more.”

“Which was the authority above Mr. Antony (sic),” he asked.

3.44 pm: “I am glad there is Tyagi’s after family in the note, otherwise there is only one family in this country, I don’t think you can intimidate us so easily,” says Singhvi in the Rajya Sabha.

3.39 pm: Singhvi talks on field trials abroad: “It is not banned or illegal. Three versions of Defence Procurement Procedure allow field evaluations to be carried out abroad. In this case, both the contenders, Sikorsky and AgustaWestland, were held in US and not Agusta alone. You are damaging investigation by pointing to one person. You are letting those who took money to escape.”

3.38 pm: About the change in height and single vendor situation on Nov 11, 2003, Brajesh Mishra wrote to then Prime Minister Vajpayee asking to reduce the height from 6000 m to 4500 m to avoid single vendor situation.


pm: Singhvi says: “We initiated proceedings but blacklisting was delayed because investigation was on. Then government changed and on July 3, 2014, the govt. issued an order banning/blacklisting AgustaWestland. Arun Jaitley sent a note to Attorney-General seeking clarifications. Surprisingly, on 22 Aug 2015, he gave clarifications. The third point of the note says that Finmeccanica can be allowed to do business if it is a sub contractor in a deal. This is strange. One cannot supply directly but can supply to someone else doing business with the govt.

3.27 pm: JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav says, “Whoever is guilty of taking bribes in AgustaWestland scam should be punished, but the ruling must abstain from pinning random and unfounded accusations on the opposition leaders.”

2.43 pm: Congress member Abhishek Manu Singhvi says: “Sonia Gandhi is being named in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, because her name is on the list. If that is the case, everyone mentioned in the list is culpable. Initials have no admissible value in the court. This has been ruled in earlier cases. There cant be double standards.”

1.10pm: The Lok Sabha adjourned till 2.10 p.m.

1.00 pm: the Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2.00 p.m.

12.56 pm: Onion, due to a bumper crop, is not yielding much profit to farmers. The government has decided to procure 15,000 tonnes of Onion from Nasik. State governments also requested to make procurement, The Centre will bear half the cost, says Consumer Affairs Minister

12.50 pm: “River Ganga has changed course forcing lakhs of residents in Malda to relocate. The issue needs to be addressed by Water Resources Department,” says Congress MP from Malda.

12.32 pm: AgustaWestland accused middleman Haschke was a director in Emaar-MGF in 2009 for three months.

12.30 pm: BJP leader levels fresh allegations against “fellow parliamentarian” alleging the benefited by over Rs.5 crore from dealings with Emaar-MGF. “Earlier we learnt that brother-in-law had benefited in Haryana in the same way, now he is also found to have made money. I have documents to prove that through sale properties, money was made,” says Kirit Somaiya.

12.20 pm: Rajya Sabha Ethics Committee Chairman Dr. Karan Singh addresses the media.

12.15 pm: Rajya Sabha Ethics Committee recommendations on Vijay Mallya: “Having considered the whole matter, including Dr. Mallya’s letter, the Committee of Ethics unanimously decided at its meeting on 3 May, 2016 to recommend to the House that Dr. Vijay Mallya be expelled with immediate effect. The committee adopted draft report to that effect.”

Report further says, the committee hopes that by taking such stern action a message would reach general public that Parliament is committed to taking such steps as are necessary against erring members to uphold the dignity and prestige of this great institution.

11.46 am: Fines to the tune of about Rs.10 crore levied for irregularities in mobile towers frequencies. WHO report says there is no adverse effect on health due to mobile phone towers, says the government.

11.43 am: No scientific basis to allegations that because of mobile towers birds are getting killed, as found by a committee set up on Allahabad High Court directions, says Telecom Minister in the Lok Sabha.

11.40 am: Kurien says that it (gang rape in Kerala) is a heinous crime and the whole House is in agreement on this.

11.37 am: CPI(M) member C.P. Narayanan raises the issue of recent rape in Kerala, in the Rajya Sabha.

11.34 am: “We know Chinese approach, they went by technical issues. We are making all efforts to create a consensus on the matter as terrorism cannot be viewed through different prisms: government replies to Mr. Gogoi in the Lok Sabha.

11.31 am: “India lost in U.N. on Masood Azhar, this is an issue of concern as China, whose premier was given warm reception, opposed our proposal to declare him terrorist,” says Congress MP Gogoi.

11.30 am: Congress member Pratap Singh Bajwa raises issue of rising number of farmers suicide in Punjab. Demands loan waiver for farmers as immediate relief.

11.22 am: Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien says “I also feel Bhagat Singh cannot be categorised as terrorist. I already gave direction to the government that such reference of terrorist to Bhagat Singh may be removed.”

11.20 am: JDU MP KC Tyagi raises Bhagat Singh issue in the Rajya Sabha. He says that in his earlier submission he did not ask for withdrawal of the textbooks, but only wanted ‘terrorist’ reference removed.

11.18 am: Over 670 mobile towers to be installed in Northeast States. Optical fibre laid in over 1 lakh km in past two years, says the Telecom Minister in Lok Sabha.

11:16 am: BSNL had incurred a loss of Rs.8,000 crore when the NDA came to power and now, for the first time it has earned Rs.670 crore profit, says Telecom Minister

11:15 am: Rajya Sabha Ethics Committee report on expulsion of industrialist Vijay Mallya presented in the House. Zero hour begins in the Rajya Sabha.

11.10 am: A category stations (460) to be developed on PPP model, says government

11.05 am: Issues related to facilities to train passengers being raised. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is present in the Lok Sabha

11.00 am: Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings begin. Question hour starts.

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