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Unimpressed by the government’s decision to cancel the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal over allegations that kickbacks were paid, the BJP Wednesday suggested the move was an attempt to shield people close to the establishment who it said had received bribes.
It demanded the government come clean on the identities of ‘AP’ and ‘FAM’ who are accused of being bribed by a key middleman in the deal.
“This is a decision in desperation because serious suspicion was being raised about the involvement of people in the ruling establishment. We want to know what does ‘AP’ and the family, who are tipped to have got the money, mean,” BJP deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said. “This question has not been answered yet. It is a rearguard action.”
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the UPA government could not hope to shield itself by cancelling the deal. “This government cannot shield itself by cancelling the deal because we know that this is a government by scam, for scam and of scam. We want to know who is AP and who is the family who have received large amounts,” Javadekar said.
As reported by The Indian Express last month, Italian prosecutors produced in court a “budget” drawn up by two middlemen which purportedly lists initials of Indian politicians and designations of bureaucrats and IAF officers who allegedly had to be “handled” to fix the deal.
The document is a note Swiss businessman Guido Haschke claimed he wrote during a meeting with British middleman Christian Michel in 2008. Under the heading “POL” — Haschke has explained in court this referred to Indian politicians — there is a reference to “AP” against which “3 million euro” has been listed.
The other is “FAM” — explained by Italian investigators in other documents as “Family” — against which “15/16 million euro” has been listed. It is not clear if Haschke has explained in court what “AP” and “FAM” refer to. But Haschke, it is believed, has insisted that the reference FAM (family) is to the Tyagi family — three cousins of former Air Chief S P Tyagi — with which he had business ties in the past and who allegedly were partners in the commission.
Javadekar said the government’s alleged corruption was hurting the country and feared the country may again be forced to pay for the alleged graft in the chopper deal.
“Cancelling deals when it suits will