Interview/ Ahmed Patel, MP and political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi
The BJP has asked the Congress leadership to come clean on who took bribes in the AgustaWestland deal.
It is baseless, malicious propaganda. Instead of making allegations, the government should investigate and find out the truth.
The United Progressive Alliance took prompt action when the scam came to light. The deal was cancelled. The case was then handed over to the CBI. The National Democratic Alliance has been in power for two years now. Why has it not been able to complete the investigation and find out who took the bribe?
There is mention of an 'AP' in a note allegedly written by a middleman.
Is there proof that money was paid to any Congress leader? We have done absolutely no wrong. They are making all kinds of allegations without taking the help of any investigation. I do not know any of the middlemen; I have never met them in my life.
One should go by an authentic translation of the Italian court's judgment, which would make it clear that there is nothing against any Congress leader in it. The operative part of the judgment makes no mention of any Congress leader. When the Italian magistrate asked how they knew what 'AP' stood for, they said they found out from the internet.
Also, bogus versions of the judgment are doing the rounds, including one posted on social media by someone close to Subramanian Swamy.
Another typed note, also written by a middleman, clearly lists your name as one of the key people to be approached for the deal.
The note is unsigned. And, it is ridiculous that [according to the] note, the British high commissioner was approached to go and bribe the political leaders mentioned in it.
Do you feel that the BJP is deliberately targeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi?
This has been going on since [former prime minister] Indira Gandhi’s time. The BJP has always targeted the Nehru-Gandhi family. It has raised the slogan of Congress-free India, and has launched this malicious propaganda as part of its plans to target the Gandhi family.
It is strange that, despite the allegations, the Congress is cooperating with the government in running Parliament.
Even before this issue was raised, the Congress had said that it wants Parliament to function. [Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha] Ghulam Nabi Azad said we are want Parliament to function. This is quite unlike the NDA government, which is continuously provoking us. The government is carrying out this propaganda to divert attention from its failures.
BJP leaders are calling the AgustaWestland scam Bofors II.
They are absolutely mistaken. For so many years, they blamed [former prime minister] Rajiv Gandhi for Bofors. They tried to damage his image. Hundreds of crores from the government exchequer were spent in carrying on with the case. And, in the end, nothing was found against Rajiv Gandhi.