Agusta Westland deal: Amit Shah taunts Sonia, says BJP fears rule of law

New Delhi : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Thursday asked Congress chief Sonia to come out clear in the Agusta Westland helicopter controversy and said that those in power during the former UPA regime were responsible for the same.

Continuing his tirade against Gandhi, Shah said it is quite amazing that the flip flops of the UPA came to the fore when it was in power, adding the same has grabbed eyeballs even now.

“I heard the Congress president’s statement yesterday. She said that she is not scared of anybody. I just want to say her that we Bharatiya Janata Party leaders fear the Constitution, rule of law and societal norms. And you have rightly said that you do not fear anybody. So, such matters keep on coming to the fore,” Shah said.

“When the National Herald (case) took place then you say that we are not afraid of anybody, when Westland takes place then you say that we not afraid of anybody. I just want to ask who was in power when bribe was given and taken? It is very clear that those in power in the UPA are responsible and they should clarify it now before the nation,” he added.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu earlier today said the government is pursuing the case with all seriousness.

Naidu, who was talking to the media outside Parliament, wondered why the Congress is accusing the ruling dispensation of the deal which was not even signed in its tenure.

Former defence minister and senior Congressman A.K. Antony, however, countered the BJP’s accusations and said the NDA Government should speed up the inquiry by the CBI which the UPA had ordered in the case.

Antony said the truth should come out and the middleman be punished.

The Congress president yesterday alleged that the NDA Government was indulging in the politics of character assassination and blatant lies over the AgustaWestland chopper deal, while refuting allegations being labelled against her.

“These things are just falsehood. Where are the proofs, they are lies, they are part of the strategy of character assassination for which we have known these people indulging in,” Gandhi told ANI.

“These people have been in the government for two years and the enquiry is on, why they don’t complete it quickly as soon as possible, an impartial inquiry and everything will come out, the truth will come out,” she added.

James Christian Michel, the accused middleman in the chopper deal, has offered himself up for questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Michel told The Hindu from Dubai earlier this week that he was willing to answer all questions from the Indian investigators in order ‘to clear’ his name, but insisted he had never met the Congress president or a ‘single Gandhi’ in his life.

Agusta Westland’s Rs 3,600 crore contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force was scrapped by the UPA government over charges of paying kickbacks to Indian agents. In January 2013, India cancelled the deal and the CBI was assigned to investigate the matter. (ANI)