New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Thursday, has agreed to hear a PIL seeking FIR against Congress President Sonia Gandhi, ex Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and their political advisor Ahmad Patel in connection with the AgustaWestland chopper scam.
The apex court has kept the hearing date for next week. Congress’ prime opposition BJP has alleged that Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Patel received bribes in the VVIP chopper deal.
However, the Congress President and the ex PM have denied all allegations against them.
Sonia Gandhi, whose name figures in a judgment by an Italian court, said she was “not afraid” and dubbed the allegations as false. Manmohan Singh and former defence minister A.K. Antony echoed the sentiment.
The Congress in turn accused the Narendra Modi government of trying to help the Italian firm which had been blacklisted.
The issue sparked tensions in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
A Milan court sent Finmeccanica’s former CEO Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland ex-head Bruno Spagnolini to jail for false accounting and corruption in the sale of 12 VVIP choppers to India.
The court ruling refers to Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, her secretary Ahmad Patel and also former Indian Air Force chief S.P. Tyagi.
Congress members were in uproar in the Rajya Sabha when BJP’s Subramanian Swamy named Sonia Gandhi in the Rajya Sabha during zero hour while speaking on the AgustaWestland deal.
“It is touching to see leader of opposition relying on (Christian) Michel for what he said orally but the high court of Italy have recorded a letter written by Michel stating that Sonia Gandhi is the main…” Swamy couldn’t finish his sentence.
Soon after, Sonia Gandhi hit back, saying she was “not afraid” of any inquiry and there was nothing to hide. She accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of indulging in character assassination.
“We have nothing to hide. Let them (government) take my name, I am not afraid of anyone because there is no basis to that allegation. They amount to calumny. Where is the proof? They are lying. This is part of their (BJP’s) strategy of character assassination,” Gandhi told the media.