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AgustaWestland case: Former defence minister AK Antony says Sonia, Rahul Gandhi 'never interfered' in deals

Former defence minister and senior Congress leader AK Antony on Monday said Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi never interfered in any defence deals and accused the BJP of "manufacturing" lies. Antony's comments come after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) declared that the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland case, Christian Michel, had named "Mrs Gandhi" while being interrogated.

 AgustaWestland case: Former defence minister AK Antony says Sonia, Rahul Gandhi never interfered in deals

File photo of AK Antony. AFP

"The government and BJP are misusing agencies to manufacture lies. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi never interfered in defence deals," Antony told reporters. He added, "The moment the report from Italy said there  was corruption in this case, I ordered a CBI inquiry, not this government. Then our (UPA) 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 the decision to blacklist five to six powerful companies, including American, Russian, Singaporean companies. That was our track record, but what is the track record of the present government?" ANI quoted Antony as saying.

While the Opposition party on Saturday alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government were AgustaWestland's protectors and promoters, the saffron party accused it of defending Michel, and asked why it was scared of a probe into the case.

Another Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday also slammed the Centre and the ED. Chidambaram took to Twitter and also criticised the media saying and "If the government, ED, and media have their way, in this country, cases will be tried on TV channels."

The former finance minister further compared the case to a trial held in a "kangaroo court". He said, "Even kangaroo courts hold trials in a courtroom. Our new 'improved' system will surpass kangaroo courts and deliver justice on TV channels."

Chidambaram added, "Further, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act will not apply. What ED says will be oral evidence, any piece of paper ED produces will be documentary evidence, and what the TV channel pronounces will be the judgment."

On Saturday, Michel, who is being interrogated in the VVIP chopper deal case also reportedly spoke about "the son of the Italian lady" and how he is going to become the "next prime minister of the country". However, the ED had not made the context of the statements clear.

Delhi's Patiala House court had sent the alleged middleman to seven-day ED remand, ANI reported. Additionally, the court ordered Michel’s lawyers to maintain a distance while meeting him.

With inputs from agencies

 

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Updated Date: Dec 31, 2018 14:49:03 IST