Let’s talk AgustaWestland first: Nirmala Sitharaman to Congress

Kolkata: Attacking the Congress for raising questions on the Rafale deal, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the opposition party must first give answers on the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal and Backops before talking about the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the fighter jet deal. “The Supreme Court has given its verdict on the Rafale deal. Not just the Congress, somebody else had also gone for a review, the Supreme Court is seized of it. Also the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) has given its report on Rafale (deal).

“But again talking about it… I think it is on the Congress, first of all, to have an enquiry and give answer on AgustaWestland (deal) and also give answer on Backops about which the party has spoken. Before they talk about the BJP and Modi ji or the Defence Ministry, they themselves have more to answer,” she said in response to a query. Attacking Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Arun Jaitley had recently said Gandhi’s former business partner, Ulrik Mcknight, at Backops Ltd in the UK had got offset defence contracts from French defence supplier Naval Group for Scorpene submarines in 2011 during the UPA rule. He also alleged Gandhi had a 65 per cent stake in Backops between 2003 and 2009, when it was wound up.

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