No evidence against Sonia, government distorting facts: Congress
Congress party has reacted sharply to the Centre's charges in the AgustaWestland deal during the debate in parliament . It termed the allegations as distortion of Italian court's judgement
The Congress took a dig at the government, terming all allegations made by the Centre in the AgustaWestland helicopters deal as "distortions of the Italian court judgment" and quoted the judge as saying that there was no evidence against Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Taking potshots at the government, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi questioned how a "mere mention" of anyone in a letter written by middlemen Guido Haschke to a man named Peter Hulet could make him culpable.
Quoting the Italian judge, Singhvi said: "The judge who wrote this Italian judgment...the judge 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 (former prime minister) Manmohan Singh'." Singhvi attacked the government for not relying on findings of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.
"We are relying on not a single finding by the ED and the CBI, but on interpretations, miscalculations and distortions of the Italian court judgment. This is actually a vote of no-confidence," he said.
He quoted from the letter written by middleman Guido Haschke to Peter Hulet: "Given that Mrs. Gandhi is the driving force behind the helicopter, she will fly no longer with MI8. Mrs. Gandhi and her closest advisors persons should be addressed by the English ambassador. The English ambassador in India is called the High Commissioner. The advisors are listed hereby:"
"The advisors are the Prime Minister, Ahmed Patel, Pranab Mukherjee, M.K. Narayanan, Oscar Fernandes etc.," read the letter.
Clarifying on the letter, Singhvi said: "Does it suggest that 'anybody talked to any of these persons to offer a bribe'?"
"Is it not plain English that they are stating the obvious that people who use and fly on these helicopters are VVIPs and they would not want to fly on outdated machines called MI8."
"On this logic, everybody mentioned in the next paragraph from the current president to several other names are all culpable because they find a mention."
"Is this the way we have to tilt? There is not anything here about anybody except the mention of facts. I hope nobody is suggesting that the advise of Hashke is to request the British ambassador to go and bribe these people," he added.