Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani Monday claimed the Congress was trying to give a “political colour” to the AugustaWestland VVIP chopper case and questioned why the party was scared of a probe.
The AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case is currently being heard in a Delhi court over claims of money laundering and kickbacks paid to middlemen.
Referring to a past judgement by an Italian court in the case, Vaghani claimed the mention of (UPA chairperson) Sonia Gandhi, (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi and (senior Congress leader) Ahmed Patel in that judgement indicated they were involved in the scam.
He said even the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the agency investigating the AgustaWestland case, had told a court that alleged middleman Christian Michel had made a reference to ‘Mrs Gandhi’.
The ED had on Saturday told the court that Michel, who was extradited from Dubai and arrested by the agency on December 22, had made a reference to ‘Mrs Gandhi’ during interrogation on December 27.
“Instead of giving a political colour to the ongoing probe, Congress leaders must first explain why the name of a Gandhi family member crops up whenever a foreigner is caught for corruption,” Vaghani told reporters.
Referring to Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala’s recent accusation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government were AgustaWestland’s “protectors and promoters”, the BJP leader said the Congress was trying to divert the issue by dragging Modi’s name.
“Why is the Congress now feeling uneasy? They are worried because their leaders indulged in scams during UPA rule. It was the UPA government, not us, which handed over the probe to the CBI. The BJP government is only taking the probe ahead,” Vaghani claimed.
“Earlier, an Italian court’s judgement had a mention of Sonia Gandhi. She was referred to as Signora Gandhi, that is Mrs Gandhi. Names of Rahul Gandhi and Ahmed Patel had also cropped up. Now, (Christian) Michel took Sonia Gandhi’s name.
“It shows that Congress leaders were involved in the scam,” he alleged.
“Modi won’t spare anyone involved in corruption. The Congress is trying to divert the issue by taking Modi’s name. It is their strategy to hide their own corruption. The Congress needs to first come clean over the allegations,” the state BJP chief said.
The Congress has continually refuted allegations of any involvement in the VVIP chopper procurement case. On Monday, former defence minister A K Antony tore into the BJP for allegations against the Congress’ top brass and said Sonia and Rahul never interfered in any defence deals.
“Government, BJP misusing agencies to manufacture lies. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi never interfered in defence deal,” he told reporters in Delhi.