Agusta: Sonia rushes to rescue Rahul

'BJP most welcome to make revelations on scam'

Agusta: Sonia rushes to rescue Rahul

Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday came out in defence of Rahul Gandhi, saying “there is no truth” to reports that her son was linked to the AgustaWestland scam.

The Congress president denied Rahul’s connection to the scam through shops that he owned at a Delhi mall owned by real estate developer Emaar-MGF.

She said the BJP was “most welcome” to present what it says are fresh revelations pertaining to the chopper deal.

Sonia was responding to NDTV that sought her views on BJP MP Kirit Somaiya’s charge that Rahul bought shops in a South Delhi mall in 2005.

“There was no quid pro quo,” she said responding to Somaiya  who held that the mall is owned by Emaar-MGF, a firm founded by relatives of Rahul’s aide, Kanishka Singh and that in 2009, Emaar appointed Italian businessman Guido Haschke a director on its board.

He also charged that Rahul Gandhi sold the shops back to the real estate developer. This is the second time that the Congress chief has come out in open to defend her role and that of her family.

On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi’s office also said when he acquired the shops, he declared them as required to officials, and sold them in 2010 which is why they are not listed among his assets in recent papers.

A day earlier, Rahul had said he was happy to be targeted as BJP turned the heat on Congress by claiming that one of his aides reportedly has business links with a middleman involved in the AgustaWestland deal. “I am always targeted. I am happy to be targeted,” Rahul said while entering Parliament even as BJP leader Kirit Somaiya shot off letters to the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI seeking a probe into the links between the Congress vice president’s aide Kanishka Singh and Guido Haschke, the alleged middleman in the VVIP chopper deal.

 Sonia had on April  27 dared the Modi government to name her in the AgustaWestaland deal and declared she was not afraid of being cornered on the issue.

“I have not done anything wrong. I am not afraid of anyone cornering me as there is no basis for that. All the accusations they are throwing at us are false,” she had told reporters in Parliament in response to questions on BJP targeting her on the deal.

UPA favoured Agusta: Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday listed out how the UPA government went out of the way to favour AgustaWestland in the VVIP chopper deal, DHNS reports from New Delhi.

From changing the technical specifications of the helicopters to allow the flight evaluation trials to be carried out abroad, the Defence Minister said in Rajya sabha that the Congress-led government did everything to create a single-vendor type situation for Agusta. 

Parrikar said the decision to keep the 1.8 metre cabin height was a “desirable” condition when the proposal was discussed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in December 2003. The UPA government, however, made it a “mandatory” condition in the technical specification, ruling out several competitors. Also, the field evaluation trials were carried out not on the AW101 platform that India purchased, but on the representative helicopters Civ-01, Merlin MK-34 and a mock up of the passenger cabin as the Agusta chopper was still under development.

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