The Congress party hit out at the BJP after the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy told the Upper House that party chief Sonia Gandhi had been named in the court proceedings into the allegations of corruption in the Agusta Westland deal in Italy. The House was disrupted as the Congress members protested against Swamy’s comments.
Countering the BJP, Gandhi told reporters: “We have nothing to hide. Let them take my name, I am not afraid.” She asked: “This government is in power for two years now, why didn’t they complete the inquiry?”
Earlier, the BJP sought an explanation from the Congress, while the opposition party hit back, asking why the Modi government had cancelled the process of blacklisting the firm in question.
Attacking Congress, Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar said that what has been revealed in Agusta Westland case is “very important and very serious” and that Congress owes an explanation.
Express Archives: Read in detail about the VVIP chopper deal
He said that instead of disrupting Parliament, Congress should introspect on what “they have done to the country and explain what is the role of their leaders” in the case.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also targeted Congress, saying that those accused of paying bribes are in jail, but the alleged recipients are blocking the progress of the country.
There should be a discussion on the matter so that facts can come out in the open, he said.
BJP is expected to raise the issue in Parliament. Congress has been paralysing proceedings in Rajya Sabha over the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand.
Top BJP leaders had met Tuesday to chalk out a strategy following reports that an Italian court, which has convicted AgustaWestland chief Giuseppe Orsi, has described how the firm paid bribes to certain Congress leaders to bag the Rs 3,600 crore deal.
Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, however, hit back, saying that if anybody needs to answer questions on the matter it is the Modi government.
He said the UPA governement had included an integrity clause as per which the contract for purchase of helicopters from Agusta Westland was cancelled, the guarantee forfeited and process initiated for recovery of money.
Surjewala said that the money too was recovered and “not a single rupee loss was caused to the Government of India.”
He said that the UPA government had also ordered a CBI inquiry as well as initiating the process of blacklisting Agusta Westland.
“On the contrary, as the government changed in May 2014, Modiji proceeded to cancel the process of blacklisting Agusta Westland. Why did Modiji not blacklist Agusta Westland?” Surjewala asked.