AgustaWestland helicopter deal: Another Bofors, says BJP, targets Antony
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Blaming Defence Minister A K Antony for alleged "inaction" over the reports of kickbacks in the VVIP chopper deal, the BJP on Wednesday sought to draw comparisons with the Bofors scam. It also asked the government to put the entire deal "on hold".
"Antony needs to explain his inaction for almost one year. Obviously, someone for some reason was trying to delay the investigations. A very legitimate question arises because of the highly suspicious circumstances surrounding the inaction... did the company's Italian connection have something to do with it? We all know how in the Bofors case the Congress government sought to bail out (Ottavio) Quattrocchi," said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
He said the party would raise the issue in Parliament and would also hold Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi "accountable" for it.
"The BJP also demands that the entire helicopter deal must be put on hold and reviewed. The country must know who received the commissions and kickbacks," said Prasad.
The BJP also sought to downplay former Air Chief S P Tyagi's claims that the requirement parameters for the choppers were tweaked during the NDA regime. "Tyagi's role itself is under investigation, his remarks should be taken with a pinch of salt." The BJP sought to stress that the tender was floated during the UPA regime in 2006, and finalised in 2007. It said the contract was awarded in 2010.
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