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AgustaWestland scam: Has UPA subverted India into a kleptocracy, asks Jaitley

After recent revelations in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal scam surfaced, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley slammed the Congress and party chief Sonia Gandhi. He tweeted, ‘Has UPA, which Sonia Gandhi heads, subverted India into a kleptocracy? Is the government which she controls a filth machine?’

The leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha attacked the Congress supremo after the leak of a letter by key middleman Christian Michel which was produced in an Italian court.

The letter was written by Michel to the India head of AgustaWestland in March 2008 saying the key aides of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi need to be targeted to push the deal through.

The names of the key aides include – Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel, Pranab Mukherjee, Veerappa Moily, Oscar Fernandes, MK Narayanan and Vinay Singh.

However, sources in the PMO had said that the deal has already been cancelled. ‘Will take action against those indulging in such slanderous activities,’ PMO sources had said.

Jaitley in his blong said that the revelation in The Indian Express with regard to the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal appears to be a repeat of what we witnessed in the late 1980s. Martin Ardbo’s diary was seized. He was head of the company which manufactured the Bofors Gun. Amongst various disclosures, the diary hinted at the protection of ‘Q’. Keen observers all knew who this ‘Q’ could be. 

‘In 1993, the Swiss authorities gave details of the bank accounts into which the Bofors kick-backs were paid. The beneficiary of one of the accounts into which significant sums had been deposited indeed was the well known ‘Q’. ‘Q’ was allowed to escape from India and the rest is history,’ he said in his blog.

Admittedly, kick-backs have been paid in the VVIP helicopter transaction. The defensive UPA government has cancelled the deal. The Indian Express in the first instance points out as to who calls the shots in the decision making in the government of India. Even the Italian middlemen perceived that important decisions in India were being influenced by Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha added. 

The prime minister at best is one of the several advisers to her. The middlemen are clever people. They do their home work before coming to conclusions. The abbreviated initials mentioned on the account sheets remind me of Martin Ardbo’s diary, he said.

Sonia Gandhi should indeed be worried. How is government of India perceived by people in India and outside? Is it a government of gold diggers? Has the UPA which she heads subverted India into a kleptocracy? Is the government which she controls a filth machine? The government indeed has a very corrupt image. Its performance on the economic front has been disturbing. The final data of 2012-13 have scaled down the GDP growth to 4.5 percent, Jaitley further writes. 

UPA-II’s economic achievements, to borrow Chidambaram’s phrase, can be written on the back of a postal stamp. Recent election results presented a disturbing picture for the ruling combine. The leader that they have sought to project for 2014 general elections is failing to make an impact, he said.

Faced with these adversities, the UPA Chairperson resorts to the last refuge of the desperate. Her ‘poison cultivation’ remark is only intended to communally polarize an election which is otherwise being contested on a developmental agenda. Her desperation is understandable. It is a different matter that her attempt to communally polarize the election may yield no results, Jaitley said on his blog.

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