Kolkata: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and asked her to clarify the Gandhi family`s relations with Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, one of the alleged recipients of kickbacks in the Bofors deal.
"I want to ask Sonia Gandhi what is the relation between the Gandhi family and Quattrocchi, who got the Bofors commission. I am not saying this...Quattrocchi`s driver in his statement to CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has said Quattrocchi had direct entry at Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi`s house," Gadkari said.
"If Congress leaders have the guts, let them clarify the relation between Sonia Gandhi and Quattrocchi. They cannot answer my question because there is something wrong," Gadkari said while kicking off the party`s `Kolkata-Srinagar Rathtriya Ekta Yatra` here.
The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) had ruled Dec 31 that Quattrocchi and his associate Win Chadha, who is now dead, received a commission of over Rs.412 million in the Rs.15 billion howitzer gun deal in 1987.
The CBI had sought withdrawal of the case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors pay-off scam citing lack of evidence even though a tax tribunal ruled that illegal commissions were indeed paid in the Rs.15-billion gun deal of 1987.
Advocate Ajay Agarwal, who challenged the CBI plea, wanted that the case be re-looked as the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal had confirmed that Rs.412 million was paid by the Swedish company, AB Bofors, to Quattrocchi and his associate Win Chadha for facilitating the contract of supplying over 400 Howitzer field guns to the Indian Army.
Gadkari also slammed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for failing to control the rising prices of essential commodities.
"The prices of essentials are rising every day. The prices of onions have reached Rs.80 per kilogram. The common people and poor people are facing a tough time. What is the government doing? Only giving slogans of `Garibi Hatao`. They are looting the country," Gadkari said while addressing a rally.
Gadkari criticised the Congress-led central government for various scams and corruption issues.
"The 2G (telecom) scam and the Commonwealth Games scam are the biggest scams of independent India. Congress is looting the country massively. The amount looted in these two scams amounts to around three percent of the GDP," Gadkari said.