AgustaWestland scam: Manmohan Singh rebuts BJP's charge
New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday rebutted the Bharatiya Janata Party's allegation of corruption in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, asserting there was "no case in this".
"There is no case, my party will respond," Manmohan Singh when asked about AgustaWestland chopper deal said.
The chopper deal scam has led to an uproar in Parliament after reports that an Italian court has found that around Rs.120-125 crore was paid to Indian officials to get the $530 million contract for the VVIP chopper deal.
The court order, according to media reports, showed that the firm lobbied with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her close aides, including Ahmed Patel, and then prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabh, Ghulam Nabi Azad quoted media reports to ask the government “if the Prime Minister had during a meeting with his Italian counterpart in September last year offered to free two Italian marines in exchange of information on Gandhi family in the controversial chopper deal”.
Azad said the Congress-led UPA government had in 2013 cancelled the deal when wrong-doings were reported and had directed the CBI and ED to investigate corruption charges.
Also, the then Government had encashed bank guarantee and got back advance money paid. Besides, three helicopters received as part of the deal were not returned, he said.
The VVIP chopper deal relates to a 2010 decision of the UPA government to buy 12 helicopters from Italian manufacturer, Finmeccanica. But reports later said the Italian company had paid a bribe of up to Rs 3,565 crore to swing the deal. Though the Italian company was blacklisted by UPA, it was part of Modi government's 'Make in India' drive, the Congress leader alleged.