Cong accuses BJP of politicising Italian chopper deal
New Delhi: Facing Opposition heat over allegations of kickbacks in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers, Congress on Wednesday accused BJP of politicising the issue and said the process for the deal was actually initiated by NDA`s Defence Minister George Fernandes in 2003.
Congress spokesperson P C Chacko while lauding the government for "wasting no time" in recommending a CBI probe into the deal as soon as irregularities came to the fore said it will be "cancelled" and the company will be "blacklisted" if any wrongdoing is proved.
Dismissing the BJP`s refrain that UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should clarify why there is corruption in every department of this government and that the deal has "makings of second Bofors scam", Chacko said, " there is adequate response from the government."
"When allegations are coming, we have been very sensitive to them and responding. All of a sudden they say that Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi should clarify They are politicising the issue. We want to pin down this kind of political propaganda," the Congress spokesperson said.
He added that the idea of purchasing these helicopters came up first when Fernandes was the Defence Minister of NDA and "in 2003, the NDA government initiated it...Some decision was taken in 2003", and after the completion of processes the deal was struck in 2010.
Party general secretary Digvijay Singh also said that the purchase of AugustaWestland helicopters from Italy was proposed by the NDA regime.
"Our Defence Minister has handed it (probe) over to CBI. Had it been NDA government, what they would have done? Can anyone be hanged without investigation?," he said.
At the AICC briefing, Chacko said no time was wasted and as soon as the Italian government acted against Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, the Defence Minister immediately ordered a CBI probe.
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