Intensifying his attack, BJP President Amit Shah on Friday targeted Congress chief Sonia Gandhi once again over the VVIP chopper scam asking her to explain a “number of relaxations” given to AgustaWestland which, he alleged, compromised India’s interests.
Posing questions to Gandhi before the media, he said reports of bribery in the deal appeared in the Italian media soon after the it was finalised but the then UPA government went ahead with it instead of invoking a tender clause, which enabled it to be put on hold.
The deal was “put on hold” only in 2013 after corruption was “proved”, he said adding the Congress chief should answer who was behind the delay.
Shah said the tender for the purchase of choppers allowed only original equipment manufacturers (OEM) but AgustaWestland was allowed to compete even though it was not an OEM.
“I want to ask the Congress President as to who was behind the change? Who ensured that the company was found technically qualified? Who was behind the changes in the tender conditions?” he asked at a press conference.
Raising another question, he said when the deal was done, one of the conditions was that the field evaluation trial of the choppers would be carried out in India but it was later changed and the firm was allowed to do so in its premises.
“Conditions were changed abruptly. Did it not play with India’s interests? Did it not compromise the seriousness of trial? Did the then Defence Minister give the permission? On whose behest did it happen? Sonia Gandhi should answer it too,” he said.
He also refuted the claim of Congress that all the money given by AgustaWestland under the ban guarantee has returned to India and said only a part of it has been encashed.
“Congress chief should herself answer these questions be appearing before people, by appearing before the media,” he said.
The Congress should come out of the mindset of “thief scolding a cop”.
Yesterday, Shah attacked Gandhi and asker to name the bribe takers in the Rs.3,600 core chopper deal but Congress hit back saying his demand was a “no confidence vote” in the Modi government which has “failed” in its job of investigating it properly in last two years.