The Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea seeking a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe against certain prominent journalists for allegedly writing in favour of the AgustaWestland deal. The SC, earlier today sought response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the PIL which called that journalists were paid off with Rs 50 crore for writing in favour of the deal. According to the Hindu, a certain section of the Indian media came under scrutiny by the apex court for allegedly receiving bribes from the Italian firm and its parent company Finmeccanica to write in the favour of the controversial chopper deal. Earlier noted journalist Hari Jaisingh had filed a plea in the Sc seeking intervention from the apex court in the CBI and the ED investigation. The Bench of Justices Dipak Mishra and Arun Mishra on Tuesday agreed to hear the plea to direct the two investigative agencies to submit a report on whether the media played a role in influencing the deal. The SC then asked Jaisingh, who was being represented by Geeta Luthra to provide the CBI and the ED with copies of his petition.
Earlier in August 2013, the CAG had submitted a report in the parliament stating that certain significant signatures had been made from the Defence Procurement Procedures 2006 to provide a Rs 3,727 crore contract for the purchase of 12 helicopters. Jaisingh, in his petition, stated that a journalist as the same as a public servant and hence should also bear the same responsibility and show restraint. Jaisingh told the SC to direct the government of India to obtain information about the financial disclosures from the journalists who had received money and hospitality from defence and other industries, both domestic and foreign. The petition further said that the disclosures must be made public.
The senior journalist based his assertation in the plea in the probe papers of the VVIP chopper deal, focussing mainly on the Italian Investigative report submitted in the Milan Court of Appeals. He noted that a facilitator mentioned in the report, Christian Michel had been allocated Rs 217 crore, which amounts to 30 million Euros by the CEO of Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spaglioni, CEO of AgustaWestland for “managing” government officials in India. The petition said that out of these 30 million Euros, 6 million Euros(Rs 50 crore approx.) had been kept aside to manage Indian media.