Sparks fly be­tween BJP, Cong over Chop­per­gate

SPAR­RING Cong seeks apol­ogy from Amit Shah, BJP hits back with So­nia barb

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Correspondent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

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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