Firing a fresh salvo at Sonia Gandhi over the VVIP chopper scam, BJP on Saturday claimed the then Defence Minister A K Antony had objected to relaxations extended to AgustaWestland regarding field trials but was “overridden”, and suggested that the Congress chief was behind it.Party spokesperson G V L Narsimha Rao told a press conference that Antony had questioned the rationale behind allowing the firm to conduct the field trial of choppers in its premises and not in India, an initial condition in the RFP, asking what is the guarantee it will remain above board.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A K Antony had questioned the proposal to have the field trial abroad. This is what the CAG report also cites. This is what Anotny had stated: What is the guarantee that credibility of this trial will remain above board if they do not take place in this country. He had recorded on file that this cannot be allowed. The Defence Minister wants RFP (request for proposals) conditions to be imposed. Who in the UPA government or who in the Congress other than Sonia Gandhi and her adviser Ahmad Patel has the authority to override Antony, his objections. Only one who could tell him to keep quiet, who could silence him was Sonia Gandhi,” he said.There is so much circumstantial evidence to show that the role of Congress bigwigs was there in the approval of contract and its operationalisation, Rao said. He said the benchmark price decided for a chopper by the UPA government was much higher than the price offered by AgustaWestland, allowing no room for negotiation and added that CAG too had pointed it out.”Sonia Gandhi and Ahmad Patel are in the dock. They are architects of the scam,” he alleged.He said the real size of the scam is much bigger that what has been reported so far, which is just the tip of the iceberg.Hitting out at the UPA government’s decision allowing AgustaWestland to carry out the field trial outside India in its premises, Rao said the likes of Sonia Gandhi and the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were not going to use it for flying in Pakistan.Taking a dig at Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad after he dared the government to bring out the truth in the next two months, he said Azad was showing such bravado as his party had no defence left.”Accused cannot decide time frame,” he said.Sonia Gandhi and Ahmad Patel have been “forced” to answer questions to the media and “this is not without reason”.”Gandhi fears, rightly so, that the scam is directly reaching doorsteps of 10 Janpath (her residence) and 24 Akbar Road (Congress headquarters),” he said.Congress, the BJP spokesperson said, was telling “repeated lies, half-truths to deflect attention” from the case. The UPA was “in cahoots” with AgustaWestland and middlemen like Christian Michel, an accused, and the whose deal was fixed from day one, he alleged, adding that a “gigantic” fraud has been committed on the nation.Tender was tweaked in a way that only AgustaWestland could qualify, he alleged. The deal was scrapped in January 2014 only after corruption was “proved”. The UPA government let the deal to be concluded earlier even though reports of graft in it were all over in the Italian media, he said.Accused Michel was allowed to leave India soon before the CBI took up the case, he alleged.


VVIP Chopper scam: Sonia Gandhi is behind relaxations to AgustaWestland, alleges BJP