NEW DELHI: The Congress on Monday demanded answers from the government over reports of the lifting of a ban on procurement from Finmeccanica company which had been dubbed as corrupt by ruling BJP leaders over the Agusta choppers deal.
The opposition party claimed that a “fake bogey of corruption” was raised by the BJP over the buying of VVIP helicopters during UPA-II rule and asked if it was being given a quiet burial.
India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland in 2014 for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks paid by the firm for securing the deal.
The BJP had at that time attacked the Congress, asking if its leaders had received the alleged Rs 450 crore bribe money for the deal signed during the UPA-II government.
Seeking to turn the tables, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Monday asked, “What is the ‘secret deal’ entered into between Modi Government and Agusta/Finmeccanica? “Is it now ok to deal with a company that Modi ji and his government called ‘corrupt- bribe giver-bogus’?” “Does it mean that fake bogey of corruption is being given a quiet burial? The nation awaits answers,” he said in a series of tweets.
He cited media reports that the Modi government was lifting the ban on procurement from Finmeccanica.
“The PM called the company ‘corrupt’. HM called the company ‘bogus’. Ex Defence Minister accused it of ‘bribes and corruption’ in Parliament. Then, Modi Government – withdrew blacklisting of Agusta/Finmeccanica on 22nd July 2014. Now, lifted procurement ban,” he alleged in another tweet while citing the media report.
Surjewala also alleged that the “friends of the media” spent thousands of hours of air time showing leaked documents by the Modi Government and building a “false narrative” against the UPA-Congress in the run up to 2014 parliamentary elections.
“Will they now dare to question the Modi Government on the ‘secret deal’ with Augusta,” he asked.
In 2016, Italian group Finmeccanica changed its name to Leonardo.