Congress leader and former party president Rahul Gandhi on Monday lashed out at the BJP led central government for lifting the procurement ban on the Italian defence giant Leonardo SpA, earlier known as Finmeccanica, whose subsidiary had been involved in the alleged scam surrounding the Rs 3,500-crore VVIP chopper deal.
Taking to his official Twitter handle, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Earlier #Augusta was corrupt, now it has been washed in the BJP laundry!"
An article published in The Indian Express claimed that the ban on dealings with Leonardo SpA and its subsidiaries has been lifted.
The removal of the ban comes just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Italian counterpart, Mario Draghi, during his recent visit to Rome on the sidelines of the G20 Summit on October 29.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also raised questions to the Central government for permitting trade with the firm which was involved in such a "big scam".
Surjewala said, "PM called the company “corrupt”. HM called the company “bogus”. EX Defense Minister accused it of “bribes & corruption” in Parliament. Then,Modi Govt- • Withdrew blacklisting of Augusta/Finmecanica on 22nd July 2014. • Now, lifted procurement ban."
"What is the “secret deal” entered into between Modi Govt & Augusta/Finmecanica? Is it now ok to deal with a company that Modi ji & his Govt called “corrupt-bribe giver-bogus”? Does it mean that fake bogey of corruption is being given a quite burial? Nation awaits answers!" he added.
As per a 2010 deal, subsidiary firm AgustaWestland International was supposed to supply 12 VVIP choppers. But in 2012, it was alleged that the company had paid bribes worth Rs 360 crore to Indian politicians, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force officers to swing the deal in its favour.
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