Prove charges or stop defaming rivals, Congress tells BJP (Lead)

Prove charges or stop defaming rivals, Congress tells BJP (Lead)

New Delhi: Accusing the BJP of levelling false corruption charges against the Congress leaders in the AgustaWestland VIP chopper deal, senior party leader Gulam Nabi Azad on Friday said it should either prove the allegations or stop defaming political rivals.

“Had they been in the opposition, I would have understood their limitations of not having any agencies (at their disposal) to prove or investigate something. But they are in power and have all the (government) agencies to probe whatever they want to,” Azad told the media at Parliament House here.

Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said the Bharatiya Janata Party had deputed the entire government machinery to come up with all sorts of charges against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi.

“They are out to defame the Congress. They are doing this to divert public attention (from development work promised by them). We denounce this propaganda,” he said.

Azad asked what was the central government doing for the past two years if it was so serious about the bribery charges in the deal.

“They should have got these charges investigated by now. They have the entire government machinery to get things probed,” Azad said.

Azad reasoned that leaders of the then United Progressive Alliance government won’t have ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the deal had they accepted bribes.

“When a person is guilty, he does not roam around confidently,” the Congress leader said.

He said, “It was in the BJP leaders’ nature to level false charges against the Congress members”.

“AgustaWestland was banned and blacklisted by the then United Progressive Alliance government. The government has now given it order to manufacture 100 helicopters,” he pointed out.

“Why is the Modi government doing business with a company that is involved in some wrongdoing?”

Asked if there was any national security breach due to the deal, the Congress leader said: “The actual national security breach was when terrorists were handed over to Pakistan by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in December 1999.”

Another Congress leader, R.P.N. Singh said the BJP was in the habit of telling “half truths”.

They were putting selective information and not the whole story in the case in the public domain, he said.