AgustaWestland Deal: Congress Orders All MPs To Be Present During Discussion In Parliament

| } May 4 , 2016 , 12:57 IST
Sonia-Gandhi-angeryCongress went into a huddle to chalk out a strategy ahead of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's statement on the AgustaWestland deal in parliament. The senior Congress leaders met party president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday morning to discuss how to counter the BJP in parliament on the AgustaWestland issue. Sonia called a party meeting to decide their strategy in the much-awaited debate on the AgustaWestland chopper scam in Rajya Sabha. With BJP MP Kirit Somaiya alleging that Rahul’s close aide Kanishka Singh was involved in AgustaWestland and 2010 Commonwealth Games scams, the Rajya Sabha could see a heated debate. Sonia Gandhi had a meeting with former PM Manmohan Singh, leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, former defence minister AK Antony, party’s deputy leader in the Upper House Anand Sharma and some other senior leaders to discuss the talking points and ways to counter the BJP. Congress sources said, Azad, Sharma and party’s ace legal brain Abhishek Manu Singhvi may participate in the debate in which defence minister Manohar Parikkar is likely to furnish fresh details of the scam to corner the Congress. The party may have to fend for itself in Rajya Sabha as Trinamool Congress, a key Opposition party, has already indicated it would train its guns against the Congress. Parties like the AIADMK and the BJD too, are likely to take this opportunity to hit out at the Congress. All eyes would be on the Left parties, a key force in the Upper House, if it comes out in support of the Congress in a corruption case. AgustaWestland beat off competition from US rival Sikorsky to win the contract. The deal came back into the spotlight early last month, after an Italian court of appeals reversed the verdict of a lower court that corruption could not be proved. The higher court in Milan found former Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland ex-CEO Bruno Spagnolini guilty of corruption and sent them to prison. ‎ Parrikar is yet to make a statement in the Rajya Sabha on AgustaWestland issue.