New Delhi, May 4: Rajya Sabha was rocked on Wednesday with a back and forth debate on AgustaWestland scam. The VVIP chopper deal was the only major point of discussion in the Upper House. While the BJP trained its guns at the Congress, the latter replied back in an equal ferocious manner, accusing the Narendra Modi government of resorting to vendetta politics.Also Read - No Outsiders Were in Parliament: Centre Seeks Apology From Opposition For Creating Ruckus in Rajya Sabha
BJP MP Bhupender Yadav initiated the debate on behalf of the ruling party. He began narrating the facts of the case in a chronological manner, and the recalled the highlights of Italian court’s judgement against Finmeccanica, which also slammed the erstwhile Indian government of not co-operating in the investigation, and the possibility of some members of political establishment being beneficiaries of corruption. (ALSO READ: AgustaWestland scam: No ‘clean chit’ to Indian politicians, UPA tried to weaken the case, says Italian Judge) Also Read - Spent a Sleepless Night: Venkaiah Naidu Breaks Down in Rajya Sabha Over Ruckus by Oppn in House
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Abhishek Manu Singhvi leads Congress’ rebuttal
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi lashed out at the ruling party, accusing it of using Italian court’s verdict as a propaganda tool to defame Sonia Gandhi. “The Italian court only mentions about Sonia Gandhi. It does not indicts her,” Singhvi said.
Both BJP and Congress lack the political will to convict the guilty: CPM
Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Tapan Sen accused both Congress and BJP of playing politics over the scam. Sen questioned the NDA government over the steps taken by them in the past 2 years to convict those involved in the bribery scandal. “This scam puts the larger question before us – What can we do to clean this political, bureaucratic environment which has been corrupted to the core in this era of cronies?”
Supreme Court monitored probe is the only solution: Mayawati, BSP
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati demanded the government to take strict action in the case rather than smoking mirrors. Mayawati demanded a Supreme Court monitored probe which would ensure a time-bound and non-partisan enquiry in the matter.
India would celebrate when the culprits would be lodged behind the bar: Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena
“The scam shows how those in power can indulge into corruption and put our national security at stake. This is an insult to the jawan who is standing at Siachen. Whole of India would celebrate when the culprits of this scam would go behind the bars. And when I hear Subramanian Swamy, I feel that day is coming near,” Sanjay Raut said.
Manmohan Singh should speak up and reveal what prevented him to provide documents to Italian investigators: Subramanian Swamy
“I personally do not doubt his (Manmohan Singh’s) integrity. He would not indulge into corruption. But he easily listen to all those instructing him. That is a major minus point about him. I want him to disclose why he did not reveal the required documents to Italian investigators,” Swamy said.
Will quit public life if proven guilty: Ahmed Patel
Congress MP and at the centre of the controversy, Ahmed Patel, reacted in a strong manner inside the House. Ahmed Patel, said that his name figured out a total of 4 times in the Italian court’s judgement, and it was the initial “AP” which indicated his role. He pleaded the NDA government to conduct a thorough inquiry and punish him if he is found guilty. “I have never indulged into corruption. If the allegations against me are found to be true, I will quit the membership of this House and denounce my public life,” he added.
Government should conduct a time-bound probe rather than assassinating the characters of Congress leaders: A K Antony
Facing the heat from Opposition parties, the then Defence Minister A K Antony, rubbished off all the allegations. He claimed that it was the UPA which cancelled the deal due to corruption allegations, and that the government should order a Supreme Court-monitored probe at the earliest if it wants the truth to come out.
CBI, ED were prevented to act by invisible hands: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar
Parrikar claimed that it was only after the Narendra Modi government came to power , that serious efforts were undertaken to crackdown the culprits. “CBI registered an FIR in matter on 12th March 2013 based on reference made by Defence Ministry on 12th February 2013. CBI did not bother to forward a copy of FIR to ED for nine months,” he said, further adding that action was only initiated after the Narendra Modi government came to power.