Supreme Court to hear plea on role of Journalists in AgustaWestland Chopper Scam

Delhi, 03 January: Supreme Court of India on Tuesday agreed to hear noted journalist and author Hari Jaisingh on his plea that the highest court should intervene in the ongoing investigation of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) and direct the two agencies to submit a status report on whether the media played a role in influencing the deal for a dozen VVIP helicopters in which Former Air Chief S.P Tyagi and two others were arrested by CBI last month.

In a report released by CAG in the Parliament in August 2013 revealed that significant departures were made from the Defence Procurement Procedure Rules (DPPR) 2006 to award the Rs.3,727 crore contract for the purchase of the 12 helicopters for VVIPs.

The petition sought the Supreme Court to set up a commission of inquiry under the stewardship of a retired judge of the apex court or any other eminent person to investigate “allegations of corruption and influence peddling in the Indian media, and to suggest corrective measures to safeguard against such ills”.

The petitioner, Mr. Jaisingh, sought the apex court to direct the Centre to obtain affidavits of financial disclosures from the members of the media who have received funding and hospitality from foreign and domestic defence and other ancillary industries. The petition said that such disclosures should be made public.

“Of Rs Jan7 Crore, six million Euros (approximately 50 crore) was set aside specifically to manage the Indian media,” the petition contended.