Navy to probe Indian envoy's allegation of corruption: Antony

      Defence Minister A K Antony said here on Thursday that the Indian Navy will conduct a probe into allegations made against its officers by Indian Ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar in her letter to the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary, T.K.A.Nair. Interacting with media on the sidelines of a Naval Commanders Conference here, Antony said: "I can assure you the government will take the allegations seriously. On the Navy's part, they have already taken it seriously and have started an investigation. We will not ignore it." In her letter to Nair, in May this year, Ambassador Shankar had informed about reports of corruption between US companies and Indian officials. Refusing to comment on Shankar's letter, Antony said since it was addressed to someone else, he had not seen or read it. He, however, added that the allegations were not only against the Navy officers, but also against seven other Indian public sector companies. Ambassador Shankar cited a bribe of 132,500 dollars given to Indian Navy officials by a US firm York International Corporation's agent. York International Corporation is a global provider of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration products. The money was transferred over a period of six years between 2000 and 2006 for placing 215 orders. The most serious allegation pertained to corruption in the Indian Navy. According to the letter, various subsidiaries of York International Corporation, made improper payments totaling over 7.5 million dollars to secure orders in West Asia, China, Nigeria, Europe and India. The allegations are not without basis as York has already agreed to pay fines slapped on them for improper payments made overseas to secure contracts. Along with the Indian Navy Ambassador Shankar named the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, the Indian Railways, the Central Insecticides Board for accepting kickbacks from Mario Covino of Control Company, Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation and Dow Chemicals respectively.

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