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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

BJP asks Congress to come clean on bribe beneficiaries

PTI  New Delhi, February 18, 2013
First Published: 20:46 IST(18/2/2013) | Last Updated: 20:47 IST(18/2/2013)

BJP on Monday asked Congress to come clean on reports alleging that close associates of a former Union minister and a Congress vice president were beneficiaries of the bribes paid in the VVIP chopper deal.

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"In a posting on the website of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) on February 14, a reference was made in Point 32 from the Director of Income Tax that kickbacks were paid to middlemen in the chopper deal.

"After accepting this, the government is now trying to find out who were paid bribes. The name of family members of a former Union minister and a close associate of a Congress vice-president are coming up," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters.

He insisted that the Congress should come out with a clarification on these allegations.

"We will raise this issue strongly in Parliament," Rudy said.

When asked if the BJP wanted the Rs. 3,600 crore deal to be scrapped, the BJP MP said it is "inconsequential" and the main issue is to find out who were paid the kickbacks.

BJP also attacked defence minister A K Antony.

"This is a monumental scam in which kickbacks of Rs. 360 crore were paid. Antony is now giving several orders and statements and is struggling to keep his Mr Clean image.

"But the fact remains that he has been defence minister since October 24, 2006," Rudy said.

The main opposition claimed that prosecutors in Italy have pointed out that bribes of Rs. 360 crore were paid and the beneficiaries include people in India.

Rudy said when BJP MP Prakash Javadekar had posed a question to Antony in Rajya Sabha in December, the minister had maintained that there is no proof of any kickbacks.

"The government had then given a clean chit to the deal. It is now in a hurry to cancel the deal but the fact remains that they are guilty and it is still not known who are the beneficiaries," Rudy said.

BJP also made light of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statements on the chopper deal.

"There is no importance of the views expressed by the Prime Minister. He says these people are innocent though a probe is on in Italy. He had earlier signed papers related to the Coalgate but said there is no scam. The PM is in a laughable situation," Rudy said.

He maintained that the government has "collapsed".

"This is the beginning of the end of this government. This government is tainted. We want complete revelations on the chopper deal," Rudy said.


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