Chopper contract given to Agusta against tender conditions: Shah (Lead, Changing dateline)

Ahmedabad, April 29 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Friday demanded to know from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on whose instructions was Italian firm AgustaWestland given the contract for VVIP helicopters in violation of the tendering conditions.

Talking to reporters here at his residence, Shah expressed surprise that though the helicopter purchase deal was made during the previous UPA government, “the Congress party is asking why didn’t our government do anything for two years”.

Using a Hindi idiom, the BJP chief asserted, “This is like ulta chor kotwal ko dante (the thief giving it back to the police).”

He said one of the conditions to award the contract “as mentioned in the tender on chapter 12 was that the original equipment of the chopper should have been manufactured by the company while AgustaWestland had not done so.”

“I want to ask Congress president Sonia Gandhi on whose instruction was this condition bypassed to give the contract to the company in question,” Shah said.

Another condition of the tender, according to him, “was that the field trials of the helicopters were to be conducted on Indian soil but they were held on the Agusta company’s premises. Wasn’t this a major compromise? Again Sonia-ji should answer who allowed this.”

The BJP president said there was a provision that the execution of the tender could be put on hold “but this was not done till the bribes had changed hands. It was put on hold only in 2013”.

Shah said the Congress was misleading the country by saying that the complete bank guarantee money was withdrawn. “This is an utter lie. Only a part of it came back to the government,” he claimed.

–IANS

Desai/rn/bg

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