Upping the pressure on Congress on the allegations of involvement of its top leaders in the AgustaWestland kickback probe, BJP on Friday released a statement by 78 ex-Army veterans seeking a thorough investigation in corruption in defence deals citing national security, days after dubbing Congress a 'mother of all corruption in defence deals'.
Demanding that kickbacks in defence deals should be considered in the wider ambit of anti-national activities at par with other acts such as terrorism, the group of retired Army veterans demanded that an example should be made of those found guilty of taking bribes in the AgustaWestland case as corruption in the defence sector can compromise the nation's security and territorial integrity.
Signatories including Air Marshal S P Singh (retd), Air Marshal Dushyant Singh (retd), Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha (retd), Lt Gen V K Chaturvedi (retd) and Lt Gen Arvind Sharma (retd), said that besides the middleman involved, all those who have taken bribes in the government as also all those politicians, and their kin, who have either directly benefited from corruption or have facilitated the unethical practices for any reason should be punished, so that the case outcome has a deterrent effect and also serves as a precedent for dealing with similar cases in future.
The statement referred to the names of several Congress leaders and their kin whose names have cropped up during the probe. Earlier the BJP, latching on to a purported statement of Rajiv Saxena, a key accused in the case, which claimed him as mentioning the names of former Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul Puri and son Bakul Nath, along with Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Ahmed Patel, alleged that scam was the priority in defence deals when the Congress was in power.
The BJP leadership had also hit out at Rahul Gandhi for his "silence" on the allegations which reminded the former Congress President how he frequently attacked the Modi government over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal despite the Supreme Court giving a clean chit to it.