Politics over Agusta choppers land in Mumbai

Last Updated 31 December 2018, 15:52 IST

The heads of the BJP-ruled states targeted the Congress over the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal on Monday.

In Mumbai, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis lashed out at the Congress at a press conference saying: "The Congress and the Gandhi family owe an explanation on the AgustaWestland deal."

“James Christian Michel is a key person in the AugustaWestland deal. The Congress has benefited from him. This is what the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has brought forth before the court. The Congress and Gandhi family must clarify,” he said.

The chief minister also sought to know why the name of only one family keeps recurring in all the defence deals involving corruption charges.

He further went saying, three companies had bid for the VVIP helicopters, used by President, Prime Minister and others.

Of this, AugustaWestland of Italy bagged the deal for supplying 12 helicopters worth around Rs 3,200 crore. Later, it emerged that there was a massive corruption in this deal and that some officials, Indian Air Force officers and politicians were bribed, he said.

The ED informed the court last week that it wants to investigate all these links and even Michel’s lawyer did not object to it,” Fadnavis said.

"Companies were formed for siphoning off money.... And (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi who has been shouting ‘chor, chor’ (thief, thief) must reply to all these issues," he said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan refuted the charges and questioned why did Prime Minister Narendra Modi include AgustaWestland in the Make in India initiative?

“Why the government has not gone in for appeal against Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland,” Chavan said.

He said that the ban on AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica was revoked by the Modi government despite a pending CBI case and also the violation of the ‘integrity clause’, for which its contract was terminated.

(Published 31 December 2018, 13:59 IST)

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