AK Antony for action against bribe takers in AgustaWestland deal

A K Antony
A K Antony

File Pix : A K Antony (middle) flanked by Dr Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi ( IANS)

Taking on the NDA government over the Agusta Westland chopper deal, the former defence minister A.K. Antony  asked the Narendra Modi government to take action against the “bribe takers” in the said deal. Addressing reporters here while kicking off his assembly poll campaign, Antony was pressed with questions on the Rs.3,600 crore chopper deal inked in 2010.

“The CBI, enforcement agencies and all those who matter are now under the control of the present Modi government. Action has been taken against the bribe givers, so now action should be taken against the bribe takers,a¿ said Antony, who was defence minister when the scam was unearthed.

He said that AgustaWestland is now involved in the Make in India campaign of the Modi government. “We request the government not to involve this company in the Make in India campaign,” said Antony.

He said during the trial in the Italian court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ministry of defence officials participated at every stage. All the witnesses were cross-examined, and at the time no names were revealed. This is a political conspiracy to malign the Congress party, the former Defence Minister said.

“Strong action has been taken against the bribe givers, and now action has to be taken against bribe-takers,” he stressed. The deal was cancelled by India in 2014 after the Italians began investigating it, a point the Congress is flashing in its defence along with the fact that AgustaWestland has not been banned by the new government from bidding for new defence deals.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, for the past week, have been indulging in political recrimination over the chopper deal both inside and outside parliament.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed a ruckus over the AugustaWestland chopper deal as Congess President Sonia Gandhi said she has nothing to hide and is not afraid of her name being taken by the BJP.  Congress took up the challenge posed by the BJP, countering the ruling partys notices with one of its own. (IANS)