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BJP benefactor of AugustaWestland, trying to hide behind ED: Congress


IANS New Delhi
The Congress on Sunday alleged the Modi government was the benefactor and supporter of AugustaWestland, the helicopter manufacturing company involved in VVIP chopper deal, and said it was trying to suppress the truth by hiding behind the Enforcement Directorate.
"The BJP is trying to hide behind the ED which has now become an 'embarrassing disaster'. The Modi lead government is the benefactor, protector, abettor and supporter of AugustaWestland," said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
The Congress also raised questions over the Modi government removing AugustaWestland from the list of blacklisted companies and allowing it to bid for 100 Naval helicopters for the Indian Navy.
"The country wants to know why a blacklisted company like AugustaWestland was given the permission to bid for 100 Naval helicopters for the Indian Navy? Why did the BJP, after coming to power, removed AugustaWestland from blacklist? Why was the company permitted to manufacture AW119 military helicopetrs in India?" Surjewala asked.
In 2014, India scrapped the contract with Italian company Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying the choppers to the Indian Air Force over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks for securing the deal after revelations made during a judicial trial against the company in Italy.
The ED on Saturday brought in the name of 'Mrs Gandhi' and 'big man R', an apparent reference to Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, in a special court when it got a seven-day extension of custody of British national Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the deal.
During arguments, ED counsel L.D. Singh also referred to Michel saying "big man 'R', son of an Italian lady who is going to be the next Prime Minister in a communication between Michel and AgustaWestland," an apparent reference to Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
"We have nothing to do in a conversation between a lawyer and a client. If there is any evidence, why are they (ED) hiding behind fake innuendoes? If they have evidence, why don't they place it in public domain?" Surjewala stated.

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First Published: Dec 30 2018 | 4:42 PM IST

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