NEW DELHI: Holding the former UPA regime responsible for the flip-flops on the Agusta Westland deal, Union Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday asked former defence minister A.K. Antony to disclose if any Congress leader was involved in this scam or not.
“If A.K. Antony in March 2013 said that corruption took place and money was exchanged in the Rs. 3,600 crore Agusta Westland deal…He is a senior leader of the Congress Party and his honesty is always portrayed as an example then he should clearly say if any Congress leader is involved in this scam or not,” Prasad told the media here.
“The larger issue in this case is if the bribe givers have been convicted, would you (Antony) reflect something on the bribe takers… and are they from your own party or not, please come out clean,” he added.
Prasad also said that his party would like to ask if the bribe givers have been convicted after trial in the appellant court.
“Why are the bribe takers silent? The BJP would like to ask from A.K. Antony when he publicly said that money was taken and corruption did take place… so now when the conviction has been ordered, he must come out clean and say it publicly whether any Congress leader was involved or not,” he added.
The Union Minister further said the government expects the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute the matter vigorously.
“Now that the order of the appellant court has come so the secrecy clause of the investigation would also not be enforced. It is for the CBI to address those concerns. We would also expect the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to undertake a speedy probe into the money laundering charge,” he said.
The ruling BJP has decided to corner the Congress Party over the Agusta Westland VVIP chopper case in the second leg of the Budget Session of Parliament.
AgustaWestland's Rs 3,600 crore contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force had been scrapped by the Indian Government over charges of paying kickbacks to Indian agents.
In January 2013, India cancelled the deal and the CBI was assigned to investigate whether kickbacks were paid to Indian officials.