As defence minister Manohar Parrikar, on Wednesday, took on the Congress in the Parliament in a fierce debate on the AgustaWestland chopper deal controversy, he gave a startling information during his nearly 50-minute speech.He picked up a file and told the Rajya Sabha that it was “the only file” that was saved from being burnt in a fire at the ministry of defence (MoD) on June 3, 2014. Notably, it had just been a week of the Modi government taking over on May 26. This file, he said, “was saved” as it by chance happened to be with an Air Force official.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reading from the file, he said that the trials in India after three Agusta choppers were received proved to be a failure. “When three helicopters were being test-tried at 5,400 feet in Srinagar, the effective payload of this chopper was nil,” the minister said. He said that sorties could not be taken out in Gulmarg and Pehalgam either.Questioning the conduct of trials outside India, he said, “Conduct of trial in India is extremely critical because the climate, terrain and topography vary as compared to that of the US and the UK. This crucial aspect has been given a go-by.” Chopper’s field evaluation trials were conducted on representative choppers and not the actual contracted chopper in violation of the norms. (This was done during the UPA rule).”The country wants to know who instigated, supported and benefited from corruption. We can’t let this pass,” he said. Even as he claimed “there is proof of mala fide intent” in the Agusta deal, former defence minister and Congress leader AK Antony said, “Take strongest action against whoever took money. Prosecute us if you have evidence, but don’t threaten, blackmail us.”Parrikar said that the AgustaWestland inquiry in India will focus on the roles of persons named in the Italian court judgment.Giving out details of the deal, the minister said that the requirements of the chopper were changed to accommodate AgustaWestland’s bid and the benchmark for flying capacity of the choppers was brought down from what was mandated in the RFP (request for proposal) 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres.Parrikar said that the RFP was issued to AgustaWestland, Italy, and the response to RFP was received from AgustaWestland International Ltd, UK, which was not the entity to which RFP was issued. The bid should have been rejected immediately.Even as Parrikar took on the Congress, the opposition staged a walkout, accusing him of reading from a readied script even while skipping several questions raised by them during the debate.

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VVIP chopper scam: There is proof of mala fide intent, says Parrikar on AgustaWestland deal