New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) A day ahead of a likely debate in parliament on the AgustaWestland chopper deal, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday that he was being “targeted” by the BJP and the ruling establishment.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said it was time the Congress came out with the truth in the VVIP chopper deal.
“I was always targeted. I am happy to be targeted,” Gandhi told the media here.
Gandhi’s remarks came in response to accusations by BJP lawmaker Kirit Somaiya that Kanishka Singh, a trusted aide of Gandhi, was involved in the AgustaWestland and the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) scams.
A BJP source said the much-awaited debate on the AgustaWestland deal is likely to come up in both houses of parliament on Wednesday.
“Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is likely to respond once the issue comes up,” the source told IANS.
The Congress leaders held a crucial strategy meet, attended among others by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
A Congress statement accused BJP MP Somaiya of making false allegations against Rahul Gandhi’s aide Kanishka Singh with mala fide intent since February 2013.
“Kanishka Singh … has absolutely nothing to do with the matter. Singh wishes for parties, including AgustaWestland or Hashke or Emaar MGF Land Limited, to be punished in the harshest possible way if found guilty,” it said.
“The vitriolic (attack) of the BJP government and its multiple leaders to propagate conspiratorial falsehood everyday appears to have reached an extreme,” Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
Emaar MGF company on Tuesday said it had no business links with Kanishka Singh while Guido Haschke, whose name figures in connection with the Chopper deal, was the company’s independent director for a “brief period in 2009”.
“Emaar MGF Land Limited has no business links with Kanishka Singh and any allegations to link us to Singh is baseless and incorrect. Kanishka Singh has never had any direct or indirect business interest, including as a shareholder or promoter or director, in Emaar MGF,” the company said in a statement released here.
Reacting to Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, the BJP leaders counselled him and the Congress not to play the victim card in the $750 million deal but rather speak out the truth.
“This is not the time to play the victim card. He should rather answer questions. The Congress has been the mother of corruption. Our target is corruption… neither the Congress nor Rahul Gandhi,” BJP leader Shrikant Sharma told reporters here.
Earlier, in a missive to the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation, Somaiya said Kanishka Singh held shares in Emaar MGF, a real estate company that also has as a director Guido Ralph Haschke, an accused in the AgustaWestland case.
“Emaar MGF was formed by the family of Kanishka Singh, who is adviser/principal secretary to Rahul Gandhi,” Somaiya said.
Rahul’s aide Kanishka Singh dubbed the allegations as “baseless, false and given with an ulterior political motive”.
Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh asked the Congress to introspect and speak out the truth.
“It is time for them to introspect. I think it will be good for the country, if they come out with the truth on their own,” Singh told media persons outside Parliament House, minutes after Rahul Gandhi’s remarks.
The Congress statement said: “Kanishka Singh has nothing to do with (it) and has been on estranged terms with the Rajiv Gupta family (Emaar-MGF) who, though related, fell out in 2005 when Rajiv Gupta propounded a will of Ved Prakash Gupta which Kanishka Singh and his mother say is a case of forgery and fabrication, and the matter has been pending in the court since then.”