Congress did not follow proper procedure while buying: BJP

Turning the heat on the Congress on the Agusta Westland chopper deal, the BJP in a sharp attack led by MP Bhupendra Yadav charged the Congress of not following the rules while buying the VVIP choppers

Congress did not follow proper procedure while buying: BJP

The BJP has accused the previous UPA government of twisting norms in the process of procuring VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland. Initiating a debate in the Rajya Sabha on "allegations of bribery and corruption" in AgustaWestland deal, BJP MP Bhupendra Yadav said that competition was restricted by changing the altitude norms for procurement of the chopper.

Yadav cited the CAG report and alleged that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government "reduced the altitude (norms) from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres and ignored the operational requirements, service quality requirement to favour AgustaWestland."

"The fact that by making the cabin's height 1.8 meters as mandatory requirement, the competition was restricted, and this led to a single vendor situation for acquisition of AgustaWestlend," Yadav said.

He said the defence procurement process should be made transparent.

The multi-crore-rupee scam resurfaced last month after the names of some Congress leaders, including party chief Sonia Gandhi, were said to have figured in a judgment by an Italian court.

AgustaWestland was alleged to have paid Rs.375 crore as bribe to secure the Rs.3,700-crore contract to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force. The contract for purchase of helicopters for the use of VVIPs was signed in 2010. The previous UPA government scrapped the deal over charges of kickbacks. (IANS)