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AgustaWestland row: AK Antony defends Rahul and Sonia Gandhi, says they ‘never interfered in deals’

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Surabhi Pandey | Updated on: 31 Dec 2018, 02:21:20 PM

New Delhi:

Amid raging debate over the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, former defence minister AK Antony today defended UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. Antony’s statement comes after the alleged middleman in the scam named ‘Mrs Gandhi.’ Though, it is still not clear in what context Christian Michel took the name, the fact remains that the explosive disclosure by the Enforcement Directorate has snowballed into a massive controversy. Addressing media in New Delhi on Monday, Antony sad that, “As former defence minister, during my time the procurement of AgustaWestland took place. I would like to say, categorically, that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi never interfered in deals and procurement.”

He also added that the Italian defence firm was selected after evaluation by team of officials. Talking about how Congress dealt with the corruption in the deal, Antony said that, “the moment report came from Italy that there is corruption in this case, I only ordered CBI enquiry, not this (Modi) government. Then our government took an unusual decision to fight this case in Italy against AgustaWestland. Ultimately, we won the case.”

“Whenever media reported about corruption in a deal, we initiated an inquiry. We took decision to blacklist 5-6 powerful companies, including one American, Russian and Singapore company. That was our track record, but what is the track record of the present government,” Antony asked.  

Michel was subjected to intense questioning after he reached India and slept barely for two hours. The 57-year old had an anxiety attack upon reaching the CBI headquarters in wee hours and doctors were called to attend to him. After giving him treatment, he was put to an intense grilling about money trail and identification of documents in the multi-crore rupee deal. He was allowed to sleep for two hours between 4 am and 6 am before being provided with breakfast.


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First Published : 31 Dec 2018, 02:03:46 PM