BJP targets Sonia, Congress points Agusta gun towards NDA, sound and fury in Rajya sabha
Allegations and counter allegations mark discussion on the controversial AgustaWestland in Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha witnessed heated debate on Wednesday with both Congress and BJP trying to score political points in the AgustaWestland chopper controversy. The BJP which fielded Subramanian Swamy tried to corner Sonia Gandhi. Congress while trying to protect its previous UPA government and party president Sonia Gandhi , tried to put the blame back on NDA.
Swamy through out his speech tried to put the blame of wrong doings squarely on Sonia Gandhi with out referring to her name directly. Without mincing words, Swamy referred Sonia as 'super cabinet'. He said even before Dr. Manmohan Singh is questioned, CBI should interrogate Sonia. "Dr Singh took orders generously from the super cabinet". Swamy taking a leaf out of the Italian court judgement tried to prove that Sonia was prime driver for the deal. He told " a person who had no qualifications to decide helicopter deal was the driving force" He quoted from the middleman's letter.
He said the reference to AP is none other than Ahmed Patel, political secretary of Sonia Gandhi. The bribes, he said, could not have been taken by an IAF officer. Swamy was frequently interrupted by Congress members.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi , Anand Sharma and former defence minister A K Antony countered the treasury bench's charges.
Quoting the Italian judge, Singhvi said: “The judge who wrote the judgement spoke extensively to a channel in India.”
“He says ‘We’ve no evidence against Sonia Gandhi, only a mention of her in the facts. The translation of the facts were sent to Michell. Ms Gandhi has been indicated as someone who will fly in the VVIP helicopters. The same place is the mention of Manmohan Singh.”
Singhvi attacked the government for not relying on findings of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate."
Antony blamed the NDA government for change the the flying altitude of the chopper to suit AgustaWestland demand. He claimed the UPA government acted immediately after the first report appeared in the media on the alleged scam in helicopter deal. He said the onus is on the Modi govt to act. AgustaWestland should not be allowed to participate in the "Make in India" programme.
Ahmed Patel who is in the centre of attack told the Rajya Sabha that " My name only comes four times in the entire report. Does it say anywhere in the report that the Congress leaders have taken a bribe?"
"If you can find even an iota of truth in all the accusations being made, I will give up public life and resign," he said.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, said that the fact that there was corruption in the chopper deal is brought out in recent judgments of Milan court."India wants to know who instigated, supported and benefited from the VVIP chopper scam. We can’t let this pass."