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UPA leaflet drags Pranab Mukherjee into chopper deal

New Delhi, Feb 15 (): President Pranab Mukherjee has been caught up in a new controversy after his name was mentioned in the UPA leaflet, claiming Mukherjee to have been the main decision maker in connection with the ordering of 12 VVIP choppers from Agusta Westland.

The Ministry said that the deal was approved in the year 2005 when the President was looking at the Defence Ministry. Seeking to clarify that the specifications of the deal were changed during the NDA regime, the leaflet prepared by the UPA also mentioned two governors – former SPG chief Bharat Vir Wanchoo and MK Narayanan, who along with Pranab Mukherjee were the key decision makers in finalizing the contract.

However, occupying the highest post of the county, the President enjoys immunity from prosecution in a criminal case. Bharat Vir Wanchoo who was the SPG chief at that time, is now serving as the governor of Goa, and MK Narayanan being the National Security Advisor at that time, is currently the governor of West Bengal; both of them of high calibres are equally enjoying immunity as President Pranab Mukherjee under the constitutional rules, said sources.

Former Air force Chief SP Tyagi who was claimed by the Italian investigation report to be one of the receivers of kickbacks to secure the defence deal for the alleged Agusta Westland, has also admitted that the speculations  were changed during the NDA rule in 2003.

Responding to a query on the issue to BJP leader Jaswant Singh, he said that it is true that the speculations were changed during the NDA rule, but the problem is not about changing the speculations, it is about the corruption that has taken place.

Now with the exposure of Mukherjee’s name in the chopper scam, it has to be observed whether the President will be questioned by the CBI or will he be discharged following the immunity given to him.