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BJP targets Sonia in chopper deal

By The Assam Tribune
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NEW DELHI, April 27 - Executing its plan, the BJP today sought to drag Congress president Sonia Gandhi into the controversial Rs 3,600-crore VVIP AgustaWestland chopper deal with its newly-nominated MP Subramanian Swamy taking her name that caused a huge ruckus in the Rajya Sabha as Congress members stormed the Well of the House and paralysed it for an hour.

Hitting back, Gandhi rejected the allegations against her and the party leaders as �false and baseless� and calling them as an attempt at �character assassination�. She asserted she was �not afraid� of being �cornered� on the issue.

Talking to media-persons in Parliament House, Gandhi asked the government what has it been doing in power for the last two years and demanded that the ongoing inquiry be completed impartially so that the truth comes out.

The controversial deal and the alleged bribes to the tune of Rs 360 crore paid in clinching it rocked the Rajya Sabha against the backdrop of an Italian court citing handwritten references to Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel and former Air Chief SP Tyagi by a middleman in a judgement that convicted the helicopter company�s chief executive.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar joined the row asking the Congress to show the order of the UPA government blackmailing AgustaWestland, a stance the party has taken ever since the controversy broke out.

Today�s drama began with Swamy, bete noire of the Gandhi family who took oath as a nominated member only yesterday, began his new innings raking up the chopper deal and sought to drag Gandhi�s name during the Zero Hour soon after the House met for the day.

All hell broke loose triggering angry exchanges between the Opposition and Treasury benches. At one point, there appeared to be a possibility of an ugly showdown as some Congress members menacingly rushed towards the Treasury benches, prompting a couple of marshals to step in to act as a wall. Members of the Treasury benches too got up from their seats to counter the Opposition.

Congress members, who called Swamy names, created bedlam, forcing repeated adjournments of the House in the pre-lunch session. However, Chairman Hamid Ansari prevailed on the agitating members to take up the Question Hour later.

Swamy referred to the allegations reportedly made by Christian Michel, the controversial middleman in the chopper deal, through a letter to the High Court of Italy.

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien immediately adjourned the House for 10 minutes lest the situation went out of hand.

When the House reassembled, Kurien expunged some of the references and allegations to Gandhi saying he should not name a member who cannot come and defend himself or herself. Gandhi is a member of the Lok Sabha. � PTI

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BJP targets Sonia in chopper deal

NEW DELHI, April 27 - Executing its plan, the BJP today sought to drag Congress president Sonia Gandhi into the controversial Rs 3,600-crore VVIP AgustaWestland chopper deal with its newly-nominated MP Subramanian Swamy taking her name that caused a huge ruckus in the Rajya Sabha as Congress members stormed the Well of the House and paralysed it for an hour.

Hitting back, Gandhi rejected the allegations against her and the party leaders as �false and baseless� and calling them as an attempt at �character assassination�. She asserted she was �not afraid� of being �cornered� on the issue.

Talking to media-persons in Parliament House, Gandhi asked the government what has it been doing in power for the last two years and demanded that the ongoing inquiry be completed impartially so that the truth comes out.

The controversial deal and the alleged bribes to the tune of Rs 360 crore paid in clinching it rocked the Rajya Sabha against the backdrop of an Italian court citing handwritten references to Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel and former Air Chief SP Tyagi by a middleman in a judgement that convicted the helicopter company�s chief executive.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar joined the row asking the Congress to show the order of the UPA government blackmailing AgustaWestland, a stance the party has taken ever since the controversy broke out.

Today�s drama began with Swamy, bete noire of the Gandhi family who took oath as a nominated member only yesterday, began his new innings raking up the chopper deal and sought to drag Gandhi�s name during the Zero Hour soon after the House met for the day.

All hell broke loose triggering angry exchanges between the Opposition and Treasury benches. At one point, there appeared to be a possibility of an ugly showdown as some Congress members menacingly rushed towards the Treasury benches, prompting a couple of marshals to step in to act as a wall. Members of the Treasury benches too got up from their seats to counter the Opposition.

Congress members, who called Swamy names, created bedlam, forcing repeated adjournments of the House in the pre-lunch session. However, Chairman Hamid Ansari prevailed on the agitating members to take up the Question Hour later.

Swamy referred to the allegations reportedly made by Christian Michel, the controversial middleman in the chopper deal, through a letter to the High Court of Italy.

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien immediately adjourned the House for 10 minutes lest the situation went out of hand.

When the House reassembled, Kurien expunged some of the references and allegations to Gandhi saying he should not name a member who cannot come and defend himself or herself. Gandhi is a member of the Lok Sabha. � PTI

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