Augusta Westland: 6 questions to Modi & ‘Embarrassing Directorate’
Congress hit back on Sunday with six questions to the PM and declared that the party would press for an inquiry into Modi Government’s complicity with ‘blacklisted’ Agusta Westland and Finnmeccanica
Indian National Congress (INC) on Sunday hit back at the Modi Government and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and accused them of misleading the media and the country on the Modi Government’s own complicity with Agusta Westland and Finnmeccanica.
Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala exuded confidence that there will be a change in Government following the general election in 2019. The Congress, he declared, is committed to hold an inquiry on the Modi Government’s complicity in the matter.
Briefing the media on Sunday, the day after ED informed the court that ‘middleman’ Christian Michel had taken the name of one “ Mrs Gandhi” during interrogation, Surjewala recalled that in July this year lawyers of Michel had told Indian TV channels that ED was pressurising him to name Congress leaders and accuse them of having accepted bribes in lieu of which ED would drop charges against him.
Here is the video link to Surjewala’s briefing:
Voicing his surprise at the insinuation, Surjewala wondered why the Congress would have lodged an FIR, blacklisted the company, filed a case against the company in an international court, cancel the contract and confiscate the company’s bank guarantee and order a CBI inquiry—when the UPA was in power---if Congress leaders had indeed accepted bribes.
Surjewala underlined that
- It was the UPA Government which filed an FIR in the case in February, 2013 and ordered a CBI inquiry;
- It was the then Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who in Parliament offered a Joint Parliamentary Committee to inquire into the case, which was spurned by the BJP.
- It was the UPA Government which cancelled the contract for the supply of 12 helicopters for VVIPs in January, 2014.
- It was the UPA Government which confiscated the bank guarantee of Rs 240 Crore in Indian bank accounts
- It was the UPA Government which moved international court of arbitration, won the case and recovered 228 million Euros or 2068 Crore INR.
- It was the UPA Government which also confiscated the three helicopters supplied till then.
- And, finally, it was the UPA Government which initiated the process to blacklist the Italian company, a process which was completed in July, 2014.
But the Modi Government and its Defence Minister Arun Jaitley consulted Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and in July, 2014 itself initiated the process of removing the Italian company from the black list.
After ending the black list in August, 2014, the Modi Government made it a part of ‘Make in India’ in 2015, allowed the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to approve collaboration and investment by the company in the manufacture of AW119 helicopters in October, 2015.
In 2017, the Modi Government placed an order with the company for the supply of 100 helicopters for the Indian Navy.
Surjewala said that the flip-flop by the Modi Government was mysterious and deserved an inquiry. Meanwhile, he posed six questions to the Prime Minister and what he described as the ‘Embarrassing Directorate’:
1. Modi ji Why did your Government remove Agusta Westland and its parent company Finmecccanica from the blacklist?
2. Modi ji, Why did you permit a blacklisted company like Agusta Westland to bid for 100 Naval helicopters for Indian Navy?
3. Modi ji, Why did you permit a blacklisted company like Agusta Westland to manufacture AW119 helicopters by giving them permission through FIPB
4. Modi ji, how did your government lose all the cases internationally against Agusta Westland and why have you chosen not to appeal?
5. Modi ji, why did you allow a blacklisted company to be a part of ‘Make In India’ ?
6. Modi Ji, why are you so desperate to cook up a statement from Christian Michel to frame Congress leaders?
- Enforcement Directorate
- Christian Michel
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi
- Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala