AgustaWestland issue: Congress running away from ‘fundamental question’, says BJP

New Delhi: With the raging debate on the AgustaWestland chopper deal controversy sending political temperature in the nation soaring, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday accused the Congress party of running away from the contentious issue.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said that Congress is avoiding the fundamental question as to ‘who has received the bribe money?’.

“Core question they are being asked is that “who has taken the bribe?”, why is Cong running away from this question?…Congress is just trying very hard to run away from questions that they are being posed on AgustaWestland,” Kohli told ANI.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had earlier today hit back at Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) president Amit Shah for his recent remarks on Sonia Gandhi over the AgustaWestland chopper deal controversy. He said the person who was barred by the Supreme Court (SC) from entering Gujarat need not teach them ‘law of the land’.

Surjewala also trained guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre over the issue, asking why the latter did not take action in the case after coming to power two years back.

Shah had yesterday asked Sonia Gandhi to come clear in the AgustaWestland controversy and said those in power during the former UPA regime were responsible for it. 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.

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.

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)