Targeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the issue of VVIP chopper scam, BJP national president Amit Shah on Friday asked her why was AgustaWestland given a number of relaxations compromising national interest.
Talking to mediapersons, he directed several questions to Sonia Gandhi. He said that before the deal for the chopper was finalised, the Italian media had carried reports of corruption in it and yet the UPA government led by Congress went ahead with the deal. He said the UPA government should have put the deal on hold immediately.
Stating that the deal was put on hold only in 2013, Shah asked Sonia Gandhi as to why there was a delay in putting the deal on hold despite corruption having been proved in it.
The BJP chief said that the tender for purchase of choppers allowed only original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to participate in the bid, but why was AgustaWestland allowed to bid when it was not an OEM. “Who was behind the changes in the tender conditions? Who gave the certificate that the company was technically qualified for the deal? And why were the changes in tender conditions made?” Shah questioned Sonia Gandhi.
Posing another question, Shah said that one of the conditions of the tender was that a field trial of the choppers would be done in India. But this condition was later on changed and the company was permitted to do a field trial in its premises in Italy only.
“Why were the conditions relaxed? Who gave the permission for it? Did the then Defence Minister gave permission for it? Was it not against national interest? Sonia Gandhi must reply to these questions,” Shah said.
Replying to Congress accusations that the Modi government had not properly investigated the scam in the last two years, Shah said that it amounted to a “thief scolding a cop”.
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