New Delhi: Seeking to corner Congress over allegations of corruption in the AgustaWestland deal, BJP today sought an explanation from Congress, while the opposition party hit back, asking why the Modi government had cancelled the process of blacklisting the firm in question.
Attacking Congress, Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar said that what has been revealed in AgustaWestland case is "very important and very serious" and that Congress owes an explanation.
He said that instead of disrupting Parliament, Congress should introspect on what "they have done to the country and explain what is the role of their leaders" in the case.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also targeted Congress, saying that those accused of paying bribes are in jail, but the alleged recipients are blocking the progress of the country.
There should be a discussion on the matter so that facts can come out in the open, he said.
BJP is expected to raise the issue in Parliament. Congress has been paralysing proceedings in Rajya Sabha over the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand.
Top BJP leaders had met yesterday to chalk out a strategy following reports that an Italian court, which has convicted AgustaWestland chief Giuseppe Orsi, has described how the firm paid bribes to certain Congress leaders to bag the Rs 3,600 crore deal.
Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, however, hit back, saying that if anybody needs to answer questions on the matter it is the Modi government.
He said the UPA governement had included an integrity clause as per which the contract for purchase of helicopters from Agusta Westland was cancelled, the guarantee forfeited and process initiated for recovery of money.
Surjewala said that the money too was recovered and "not a single rupee loss was caused to the Government of India."
He said that the UPA government had also ordered a CBI inquiry as well as initiating the process of blacklisting AgustaWestland.
"On the contrary, as the government changed in May 2014, Modiji proceeded to cancel the process of blacklisting AgustaWestland. Why did Modiji not blacklist AgustaWestland?" Surjewala asked.