UNDER ATTACK from the BJP and the government over the AgustaWestland chopper deal, the Congress Friday dared the government to “stop the tamasha” and “malicious campaign”, and complete the probe within two months and place its findings in Parliament when it meets for monsoon session.
Two Rajya Sabha MPs of the Congress also gave a notice to move breach of privilege motion against Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar for his ministry issuing a statement on the deal outside the House when Parliament was in session.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said at a press conference that it was surprising to see that the entire Cabinet right from morning to evening was busy “giving bytes”, “participating in channel discussions” and “giving interviews” on the issue. For the past nearly 40 years, the BJP had been indulging in leveling unsubstantiated allegations, he said.
“Old habits die hard. They are still doing the same… If the leadership of the UPA, leadership of the Congress or its ministers had taken bribes from AgustaWestland, would it have shown the courage to order a CBI and ED inquiry. Would it have scrapped the deal, initiated the process to black list the company…,” he said.
“If this government is honest about bringing out the truth, want to get to the root of this issue, stop giving bytes from morning to evening to television channels and selectively leaking defence files… bring out the names of those people who took money.”
“The Italian court has decided on who had given the money… the responsibility of finding who recieved the money is with the Government of India. End this tamasha… stop the disinformation campaign… we also want to know who took money in this deal, how much and how. If this government has the guts, complete the probe within two months and tell Parliament when the monsoon session commences,” he said.
Congress MPs Shantaram Naik and Hussain Dalwai gave the notice for moving a breach of privilege motion against Parikkar. Their contention is that his ministry issued a statement explaining the sequence of events. “When Parliament is in session, he cannot issue a statement outside the House. That amounts to breach of privilege of the House and the members,” sources said. Naik demanded that his notice be referred to the privilege committee. “It was incumbent on the Defence Minister that if at all wanted to give some clarification that should have been given on the floor of the House,” Azad said.
The Congress also questioned the Defence Ministry’s version, saying it peddled “half-truths”.
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