NEW DELHI: BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday scaled up his attack against Congress president Sonia Gandhi, posing four questions to her on the AgustaWestland issue. Dismissing the Congress counter charge as a case of ‘ulta chor kotwal ko daante (pot calling the kettle black), he said, “They should be ashamed.”
Challenging Sonia Gandhi to clear the air, he asked, “On whose direction was AgustaWestland allowed to file tenders... despite not being the original equipment manufacturer? I want to ask the Congress president who was behind the change? Who ensured that the company was found technically qualified? Who was behind the changes in the tender conditions?”
Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, Shah also asked when was the deal done and when were the conditions of field evaluation trial changed.
“Conditions were changed abruptly. Did the then Defence Minister give his permission? At whose behest did it happen? Sonia Gandhi should answer it too,” he demanded. The BJP chief further questioned as to why the deal was not put on hold despite allegations of corruption.
“The deal went on despite allegations of bribes surfacing in Italy. It was only after the accused were arrested and bribery was proved that the deal was put on hold. Why this delay?” he asked and also disputed the Congress claim that money was recovered from AgustaWestland and said only a part of it has been encashed. “Congress chief should herself answer these questions before the people, by appearing before the media,” he demanded. The Congress was quick to reply to Shah, asking the government to complete its probe before levelling accusations. “If the government has the guts, it should come out with truth in the matter in the next two months,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
On Thursday too, Amit Shah had challenged Sonia Gandhi to name the bribe-takers in the `3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal.