Congress puts up valiant defence, AgustaWestland rocks Parliament
Congress today put a valiant defence against the BJP allegation on the West land chopper deal. Breaking her silence on the Agusta Westland chopper deal Congress president Sonia Gandhi has said she was “not afraid” of any inquiry . “We have nothing to hide. Let them (government) take my name, I am not afraid of anyone,” Gandhi told the media . She said any investigation must get over as soon as possible so that the facts are out. “The allegations are baseless. The truth will come out soon. It is part of their (BJP’s) character assassination strategy.”
She asked why the Narendra Modi government did not investigate the deal in the last two years since they came to power.
Former defence minister A K Antony claimed that it was UPA government which blacklisted the project and they got the advance paid to the Italian company back.
Earlier, The top brass of the BJP including its president Amit Shah and parliamentary leaders including finance minister Arun Jaitley met here to chalk out a strategy following media reports that an Italian court, which has convicted AugustaWestland chief Giuseppe Orsi, has reportedly described how the firm paid bribes to top Congress leaders to bag the Rs 3,600 crore deal.
The issue also figured in the BJP parliamentary party where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present. Congress would also be targeted on the controversial Aircel Maxis deal and the affidavits in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
According to media reports, the Italian court judgement states how the firm lobbied with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her close aides besides the then NSA M K Narayanan and the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Gandhi was described as the “driving force” by the judge behind the deal.
It was also decided that Subramanian Swamy, who took oath as the newly-nominated member of Rajya Sabha and the bete noire of Congress’s first family, would rake up the chopper deal issue in the Rajya Sabha when it meets for which notice has been given. Meenakshi Lekhi is expected to do the job in the Lok Sabha on the said issue .