The AgustaWestland issue was fiercely debated in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with members of Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress blaming each other for the multi-crore-rupee scam that resurfaced last month.
AgustaWestland was alleged to have paid Rs 375 crore as bribe to secure the Rs 3,700-crore contract to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force. The contract for purchase of helicopters for the use of VVIPs was signed in 2010. The previous UPA government scrapped the deal over charges of kickbacks.
Here is a summary of who said what on the issue in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
CBI can question ‘driving force’ - Swamy
Targeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said that the CBI can, as per the law, question the person mentioned as the “driving force” behind the AgustaWestland deal.
Swamy alleged in the Rajya Sabha that conditions were manipulated by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to egg out the contenders other than AgustaWestland.
The BJP leader also alleged that while the original proposal was to buy eight choppers, the number was later raised to 12 once AgustaWestland won the contract.
Read Swamy’s entire statement in the Rajya Sabha here.
Punish bribe takers - Antony
Former defence minister A K Antony said that it was proved beyond doubt that there was corruption in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal.
He asked the BJP government not to threaten or blackmail but take legal action against the bribe takers.
The former defence minister, however, said the issue should not be politicised.
Read Antony’s entire statement in the Rajya Sabha here.
Sonia not indicted, merely mentioned - Singhvi
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the mention of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and others in the judgment of the Milan court did not ‘indict’ them. He said that the judgement merely mentioned them as VVIPs who would use the choppers.
Slamming the ruling party for its “hubris” and “arrogance of power,” Singhvi said the Congress is not going to be intimidated by such tactics.
Ridiculing the BJP’s attempt to link certain initials like “CP, VP and AP” to the deal, Singhvi cited the Hawala case in which an initial ‘LKA’ had featured and the high court had said the presence of initials constituted no evidence.
Read Singhvi’s entire statement in the Rajya Sabha here.
Invisible hand guided CBI, ED - Parrikar
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said in the Rajya Sabha that India wants to know who instigated, supported and benefited from the VVIP chopper scam.
He said that the Investigation so far in the case has revealed involvement of Ids Infotech as a channel for transfer of bribe money. “UPA, instead of taking action against the company, wrote to external affairs Ministry, embassy & court,” Parrikar alleged.
Parikkar also said that an invisible hand was guiding actions or inactions by CBI & ED during the investigation.
Read Parrikar’s entire statement in the Rajya Sabha here.
Will give up public life if guilty: Patel
Congress leader Ahmed Patel said in the Rajya Sabha that he would give up public life if found guilty in the scam.
He said his name figured four times in the 225-page Milan court document but nowhere he was indicted.
He charged the BJP of creating an ‘atmosphere’ against the Congress by making allegations that the party is corrupt.
Read Patel’s entire statement in the Rajya Sabha here.