Sparks fly between BJP, Cong over Choppergate
SPARRING Cong seeks apology from Amit Shah, BJP hits back with Sonia barb
The Congress demanded on Saturday an apology from BJP chief Amit Shah for his “politics of deceit” and attempts to create a “smokescreen to befool” the people on the controversial Agusta Westland helicopter deal.
For its part, the BJP fired a fresh salvo at the Congress chief, alleging that Sonia Gandhi had “overridden” then defence minister AK Antony’s objection to the tainted manufacturer conducting field trials abroad for the helicopter.
“Who in the UPA government or who in the Congress other than Sonia Gandhi and her adviser Ahmad Patel has the authority to override Antony? The only one who could tell him to keep quiet, who could silence him was Sonia Gandhi,” party spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said.
The Congress remained unfazed and asked if the Narendra Modi government’s defence procurement procedure doesn’t provide “that trial can be carried out abroad”.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Antony dared the BJP-led government to take strong action against “bribe givers and takers” if there is any evidence.
As the BJP tried to drag Gandhi into the controversy, the main opposition party accused the BJP-led NDA government of allowing Finmeccanica, the Italian parent company of Agusta Westland, to participate in 2015 Aero India show. The Congress asked why companies related to Agusta Westland were allowed to take part in PM Modi’s Make in India projects.
Agusta Westland, a subsidiary of Italian defence giant Finmeccanica, allegedly paid `375 crore as bribe to secure a `3,727-crore contract to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the air force. The previous UPA government scrapped the deal over charges of kickbacks to Indian agents.
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