New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said efforts were made by the previous UPA government to favour AgustaWestland and accused the Congress of creating a single vendor situation in the Rs 3600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.
Speaking in Lok Sabha, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader attacked Congress saying, CBI registered FIR in the alleged VVIP chopper scam in March 2013, but copy of FIR was not forwarded to Enforcement Directorate till December 2013.
Launching a scathing attack on the previous UPA government, the Defence Minister said, “UPA did not take any action against the company. It was almost made compulsory by circumstances that it acted.”
Parrikar said that former Air chief SP Tyagi and Gautam Khaitan, both accused in the case, are "small people" who "simply washed their hands in a flowing ganga (of corruption)" and that the government will "find out where the river was going".
He said the previous UPA government had "done everything" to help AgustaWestland bag the contract for VVIP helicopters.
The ED took notice of AgustaWestland case only when Union Minister Arun Jaitley became the Defence Minister in July 2014, he said.
Further taking on the grand old party, the UPA government knew about the scam in February 2012 but still three helicopters were delivered in December, 2012.
Speaking on a Calling Attention Motion on the chopper deal, the BJP leader said, "Why are you (Congress) concerned? I have not named anybody. You seem to know where the ganga was going," the Defence Minister said, taking a swipe at Congress.
On January 01, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force (IAF) over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.
The issue has become major political affair in the country after a court in Milan, Italy, jailed AgustaWestland's former head Bruno Spagnolini on the charges of false accounting and corruption in the sale of the firm's 12 VVIP choppers to India.
Some documents submitted to the court contain the names of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her political adviser Ahmad Patel and former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi.