The enforcement directorate (ED) summoned former air force chief SP Tyagi on Friday for questioning in a controversial helicopter scam, the latest twist in a corruption row that has rocked Parliament.
Tyagi is accused of meeting the middlemen who cleared the way for AgustaWestland to bag the deal for supplying 12 VVIP helicopters to the Indian Air Force.
He has been summoned under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The date of hearing has not been disclosed.
A subsidiary of Italian defence major Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland allegedly paid around Rs 375 crores as bribe, a revelation that led to the agreement being scrapped by the then UPA government in 2014.
Tyagi was summoned after two days of BJP offensive against the Congress on the graft allegations, especially against Sonia Gandhi, the president of the opposition party.
On Thursday, BJP chief Amit Shah tore into Gandhi and demanded to know who received the “kickbacks” in the case.
“Where are those who received the kickbacks? Who were in power at that time? They are responsible and they should bring out the truth,” Shah said.
The Congress condemned the remarks on Friday and burnt Shah’s effigies, daring the BJP to come out with conclusive proof.
“If government has the guts, it should come out with truth in the matter in the next two months when monsoon session of Parliament will commence,” Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, told reporters.
The BJP wants to use the corruption charges to push the Congress on the back foot after the opposition party stalled Parliament repeatedly over the past two sessions and hurt the government’s reform agenda.
The charges over the VVIP chopper deal erupted three days ago when documents in an Italian court hearing the AgustaWestland case referenced middlemen mentioning top Congress leaders, including Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh.
The BJP alleges the bribe was paid to top Congress leaders and is attacking the opposition party inside and outside Parliament at a time when assembly elections are going on in four states.