Subramanian Swamy, of the BJP, made his debut speech as a member of Parliament today with a takedown of his favourite target: Sonia Gandhi. “Before even Dr Manmohan Singh, she should be interrogated first by the CBI,” Swamy said as Parliament deliberated upon who was paid bribes by defence manufacturer AgustaWestland to secure an order to supply 12 helicopters to India.
Swamy did not take Mrs Gandhi’s name, but he did not mince his words, referring to her as “a super cabinet” and a “higher authority than then PM Dr Singh” as he alleged that there is plenty of evidence to prove that Mrs Gandhi was a principal player in the scam, an allegation both she and her party have aggressively denied.
Late last month, an Italian court found that Agusta and its parent company Finmecannica paid bribes in India. The documents it referred to include notes from middlemen for the deal; Congress bosses are liberally referred to as they calculate how to nail the Rs. 3,600-crore deal. Mrs Gandhi is described as “the driving force” of the government’s decision to buy new helicopters; an entry of “AP” was a stand-in for her political secretary, Ahmed Patel, according to Italian prosecutors.
Patel says that’s a wild leap. “There are many APs out there,” he said to NDTV. “Then the Italians must be crazy people to give money to an AP who has nothing to do with the UPA government,” was Swamy’s cutting response.
Swamy said that the documents the Italian court referred to mark plenty of ground for the CBI to begin interrogating Mrs Gandhi. A person “who had no qualifications to decide helicopter deals” was understood to be the “driving force”, he said, quoting the middleman’s letter. “Why?”