Why no probe in India, because firm from Italy? BJP; NDA started deal, retorts Cong
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Accusing the government of not initiating any inquiry in the Augusta Westland helicopter deal in spite of serious allegations in public domain for the last one year that commissions to the tune of Rs 350 Cr have been paid, Prasad said a very legitimate question arises because of the "highly suspicious circumstances" surrounding inaction and whether the company's Italian connection had to do something about it.
"We all know how in the Bofors case the Congress government sought to bail out Quattrocchi (Italian businessman)," he said, adding the chopper deal had the "makings of a second Bofors scam".
The main opposition also demanded that the helicopter deal should be reviewed and the supply of the remaining nine choppers should be stopped till all doubts are cleared. The Left parties also demanded scrapping of the deal in the wake of bribery charges and accused the government of failing to check "high level corruption" in defence deals in the past eight years.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said his party would raise the issue seeking government answers in Parliament in the coming session.
CPI leader D Raja demanded blacklisting of the company and immediate prosecution of those who received kickbacks. SP spokesperson Kamal Farooqi demanded scrapping of the deal while JD(U) Chief Sharad Yadav while scams keep happening and no steps are being taken to end corruption.
Cong accuses BJP of politicising Italian chopper deal
Facing Opposition heat over allegations of kickbacks in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers, Congress today accused BJP of politicising the issue and said the process for the deal was actually initiated by NDA's Defence Minister George Fernandes in 2003.
Congress spokesperson P C Chacko while lauding the government for "wasting no time" in recommending a CBI probe into the deal as soon as irregularities came to the fore said it will be "cancelled" and the company will be "blacklisted" if any wrongdoing is proved.