Swamy names Sonia, Cong drags in Modi & Jaitley
The tension building up between the ruling BJP and principal opposition Congress over the past few days, exploded in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday as Congress members moved menacingly toward newly nominated member of the House Subramanian Swamy forcing an adjournment.
Raking up the issue of AgustaWestland chopper during Zero Hour intervention, Swamy referred to the allegations reportedly made by Christian Michel, the controversial middleman in the Rs 3600 crore VVIP chopper deal scam, through a letter to the High Court of Italy.
As soon as Swamy named Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her party members angrily stormed into the Well, with a handful even moving closer to the treasury benches. Members of the treasury benches too got up on their seats to counter the opposition.
Congress members, who called Swamy a ‘CIA agent’, forced repeated adjournments of the House in the pre-lunch session. However, Chairman Hamid Ansari prevailed on the agitating members to take up the Question Hour. When the House re-assembled, Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien expunged Swamy’s reference to Gandhi saying he should not name a member who cannot come and defend himself or herself. Gandhi is member of the Lok Sabha.
Later in the afternoon, addressing a press conference in the Parliament House senior Congress leader and former Defence Minister AK Antony along with party leaders Randeep Surjewala and PL Punia said that Subramanian Swamy has been brought to Rajya Sabha to fulfill the Prime Minister’s “muck raking agenda”.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, Antony said, “They are seeking to weave a web of lies, perpetuate falsehoods and construct a mesh of deception to hoodwink the people of India in the AgustaWestland helicopter purchase and its parent company Finmeccanica.” They alleged that Agusta and Finmeccanica were being allowed to participate in Make In India projects by the NDA government.
They said, “Modi government is indulging in this cover up conspiracy to hide its sinister role in helping and promoting a banned company AgustaWestland and its parent company, Finmecanica. The most intriguing part of the conspiracy is why the Modi government is permitting a blacklisted company... to get clearances from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and facilitate its entry as a partner or sub-contractor to various Indian corporates.”
Antony also alleged that the NDA govt “went to sleep” in the last two years “doing nothing” in the matter, in which he had ordered a CBI probe. When asked about the names of Sonia Gandhi and some other Congress leaders being mentioned in the court verdict, Antony claimed, “No witnesses mentioned these names in hearing in the Italian Court”. He said that the UPA government not only pursued the matter in the Italian courts, but also saw to it that an officer of the Defence Ministry and the CBI was present during the hearings.
Govt to seek CBI report, blacklist AgustaWestland
Amid the raging row over VVIP chopper scam, the government on Wednesday said it will seek a report from Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the deal and initiate the move to blacklist AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica and claimed the previous UPA dispensation had not put any embargo on the scandal-tainted company.