Former DGNI offers to spill the beans on France-Pak arms deal kickbacks case

Saturday, November 20, 2010

ISLAMABAD - In the latest development in the France-Pak arms deal kickbacks case, former Director General Naval Intelligence (DGNI) of the Pakistan Navy has offered to help Islamabad and Paris in booking the corrupt and bringing back the looted money to his country.

Shahid Ashraf, who by his own account was tortured, harassed and put under illegal custody by the sleuths he once commanded, and prematurely retired from the service “for knowing too much about the commission mafia in defence forces”, said that he was willing to cooperate with Pakistani as well as French authorities, The News reported.

“I have a lot to share with them about the kickbacks in the Agosta submarine deal,” he added.

Ashraf revealed that although the deal had led to the removal of the then Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Mansurul Haq, and the framing of a corruption reference against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, the mighty and powerful in the navy who made millions of dollars from the deal were never held accountable.

The cover-up in the submarine deal, according to the former DGNI, was meant to save the skin of many in the Pakistan Navy.

To force his silence, Ashraf was maliciously charged for getting 1.5 million rupees from a naval officer, who was alleged to have got illegal gratification and kickbacks from foreign suppliers of the naval vessels, etc., but was ‘interestingly’ made an approver against him, the former DGNI said.

Recently, former naval chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza had disclosed in an interview with The News that the then Benazir government had urged the Pakistan Navy to go for the French subs.

Mirza, while quoting the then Naval Chief Admiral Saeed Khan, had revealed that Benazir Bhutto’s Defence Minister Aftab Shabaan Mirani had clearly indicated to the Pakistan Navy’s high command about the Benazir government’s preference for the induction of the French submarines.

Earlier this week, former French Defence Minister Charles Millon had confirmed the existence of kickbacks in arms deals with Pakistan, whose cancellation allegedly resulted in a deadly 2002 Karachi bombing.

“For the Pakistani contract, looking at the secret service reports and analyses carried out by the (defence) ministry services, one has the absolute conviction that there were kickbacks,” the media quoted Millon, as telling investigating magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke, who is investigating claims that a company set up with French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s approval channelled money from the arms deal commissions to fund political activities in France.

Since 2008, French investigators have been examining the allegations that the cancelling of commissions for one of the arms deals prompted the attack that killed 11 French engineers, who were in Pakistan to build submarines.

One leaked French report on the affair said that the commissions paid to Pakistani figures were ordered by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of the assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. (ANI)

will not be displayed