BJP on Thursday demanded a thorough probe into the scrapped AgustaWestland chopper deal to find out the money trail and the beneficiaries including those named as “family” and “AP” in the revelations made so far.
“The abrupt cancellation of the AgustaWestland helicopter deal should not lead to stopping the probe of beneficiaries of the slush money. It should also be probed as to why government took no action in the beginning itself when reports of violation of integrity clause came up,” Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
He alleged that the Congress-led UPA government has attempted to cover up the whole scam right from the time it came to light and has scrapped the Rs. 3,546 crore VVIP chopper deal only when it was compelled to do so.
Demanding that investigations should continue to find out the beneficiaries of the bribe money and where the funds were stashed away, Mr. Prasad said it should also be revealed as to which “Family” is being referred to in the papers presented by the prosecution in Italy. He also insisted that the identity of “AP”, an alleged beneficiary, should be found out.
BJP also rued that there is an Italian connection in this deal as was the case earlier in the Bofors scam. “I am referring to Ottavio Quattrochi’s involvement in the Bofors scandal,” Mr. Prasad said.
He charged that under a Congress regime no fair defence deal can be expected and middlemen have become an important part of the UPA government.
“This scam is a double whammy in a way. On the one hand, the defence forces today need weapons, ammunition, fighter planes but after the Bofors deal, no big guns have been bought by the country,” he said.
BJP claimed credit for cancellation of the deal, saying it was only after the matter erupted in Italy and the Opposition exerted pressure on the government did the UPA dispensation take action.