BJP today used the conviction of Italian officials linked to the VVIP chopper scam to target the Congress and asked the then Defence Minister A K Antony to name the party leaders allegedly involved in the scandal.
The party wanted to know who were the bribe takers after those who gave the bribe were convicted by an Italian court.
Addressing a press conference, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Antony had in March 2013 said corruption had taken places in the purchase of VVIP choppers and that bribe had been taken. He asked Antony to come clean on it.
“Bribe givers have been convicted. Why are bribe takers silent? Antony should answer if leaders of Congress are involved in it or not. Are they from your party or not? Please come out clean,” he said.
He said the treasury benches will use the issue to attack Congress in Parliament. The chopper scam is not an isolated case of graft and “corruption is the byword of UPA-I and UPA-II”.
Prasad said today’s attack on Congress was only the “first chapter” as top BJP leaders, including its chief Amit Shah and Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu, huddled together to mull over their next move.
The top BJP leaders, sources said, deliberated on various issues and fine tuned their strategy to attack the main opposition party during Parliament session.
Antony’s honesty is discussed and the senior Congress leader himself speaks about, he said wryly, and asked him to go public with the names of “guilty” party leaders.
Quoting from the Italian court’s order Prasad said, “There was reasonable belief that corruption had taken place and it was validly proven that 10-15 million dollars made way to Indian officials”.