VVIP chopper scam: BJP targets Sonia Gandhi, asks Congress to name bribe-takers

BJP on Tuesday used the conviction of Italian officials linked to the VVIP chopper scam to target Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and asked the then defence minister A K Antony to name the party leaders allegedly involved in the scandal.

BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi should come out with a clarification over the alleged mention of her name in the Italian court’s order.

“Her government was the champion of corruption. She must issue a clarification over the mention of her name by the court,” he said.

The matter came into limelight on Monday, when an Italian court observed that the Indian government, in 2013, did not share critical documents which would had exposed the corruption in the AgustaWestland deals. The court also observed that there is sufficient amount of prima facie evidence to believe that corruption took place and the then Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi was a beneficiary of the deal.

The Rs 3,600 crore deal was inked in the year 2010, when the UPA government decided to buy 12 VVIP choppers from Italian firm Finmeccanica. However, when allegations of corruption propped up, Defense Ministry decided to cancel the deal in 2013. The Italian probing agencies demanded the Indian government to provide all related documents in 2013. However, the UPA decided to provide them only one of the three critical documents, and that too in 2014.

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi raised the matter in the Parliament on Monday. During the Zero Hour, she demanded the Defence Minister to make the financial documents of the deal public. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has assured that the government would pay heed to the matter.


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