BJP, Congress headed for confrontation on chopper deal

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016,10:57 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | BJP and Congress on Tuesday headed for an escalating confrontation over allegations of bribery in the Rs.3,6000 crore VVIP helicopter deal during the UPA regime, with Sonia Gandhi clearly being the target of the ruling party’s attack.

Reports from Italy based on a court judgement citing notes from middlemen that around Rs.120 crore were paid to some political leaders in the deal provided fodder to the BJP which has decided to attack the Congress leadership both inside and outside Parliament.

A note from a middleman reportedly describing Gandhi as the driving force behind the deal was seized upon by BJP, but the Congress hit back saying that integrity of Gandhi and the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was unquestioned.

The top brass of the BJP including its President Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other parliamentary leaders met here to chalk out a strategy.

The issue also figured in the BJP Parliamentary Party where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present. Congress would also be targeted on the controversial Aircel Maxis deal and the affidavits in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

Dismissing allegations, A K Antony, the defence minister in the UPA government, asked the Modi government to fast track the probe into the chopper scam and find out the truth as the UPA government had cancelled the contract and ordered a CBI investigation into it.

When the primary allegation came out in the media, we immediately ordered a CBI inquiry.  We cancelled the contract and fought the case in the Milan court.  We won the case and got back all the money we paid in advance by bank guarantee, he told reporters.

The Indian government has gained more information now.  My request to the Indian government is that the probe has been going on for a long and hence please speed up the inquiry and find the truth, he said.

The Congress party also hit back at the BJP leaders and said they reject all allegations against Gandhi and Singh with the contempt they deserve.

No one should be making loose comments against the Congress President and the former PM, whose integrity and intellect was never in question, party deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma told the media.

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