Whenever you think of kickback in defence deal, think of Congress leaders: BJP

The Congress president and "the prince of the party" have to answer to the people, Prasad said
Last Updated 17 November 2020, 11:34 IST

No deal without a deal and no contract without a cut has been the policy of Congress leaders, the BJP said on Tuesday, attacking the opposition party over reports of kickbacks allegedly received by its members in the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

Demanding answers from the Congress leadership, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that from the Jeep scandal, the Bofors scam to the submarine scandal and several more, Congress leaders for their benefit made a "mockery" of national security.

Citing a media report on the key accused in the chopper deal mentioning the names of senior Congress leaders like Salman Khurshid and Ahmed Patel, and Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul Puri, he said, "Whenever you think of a kickback in a military deal, think of some Congress leaders."

"No defence deal without a loot, no defence deal without a kickback and no defence deal without some Congress leaders becoming beneficiary of it has been the go-to policy of Congress leaders," the BJP leader said at a press conference.

The Congress president and "the prince of the party" have to answer to the people, Prasad said.

In 2010, there were talks of buying AgustaWestland helicopters for VVIPs like the president and the prime minister at a cost of Rs 3,600 crore, Prasad said.

Two years later, media reports revealed that kickbacks had been given in the deal, the Union minister said.

Though the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-2 government had ordered a CBI inquiry but no progress was made until the BJP-led NDA government was formed in May 2014. Thereafter, arrests were made in the case, Prasad said.

Now, the key accused in the case, Rajiv Saxena, has mentioned the names of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul Puri and son Bakul Nath, along with names of other Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Ahmed Patel in his statements before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), he said.

"The BJP demands that the Congress party not maintain silence on this grave issue. The nation is awake and listening," Prasad said and asked "why do we always get names of Congress leaders whenever a defence deal is referred to an investigative agency".

(Published 17 November 2020, 11:34 IST)

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