Defence minister Manohar Parrikar fired the Bofors barb at the Congress on Friday, declaring the government’s intent to catch the VVIP helicopter scam beneficiaries unlike the tainted howitzer deal of the 1980s in which the accused were not captured.
“What we could not do in Bofors, maybe we can do it in AgustaWestland,” he said, wrapping up a high-decibel debate in the Lok Sabha.
He was referring to a 1986 defence deal with Swedish gunmaker Bofors. The Congress had lost the 1989 election because of the scam and political rivals dragged former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name into the scandal, though the judiciary cleared him in 2004.
Parrikar’s remarks were in response to Congress’s attempt to turn the tables on the government over the AgustaWestland helicopter scandal. The opposition party accused the government of trying to create an “illusion” through baseless allegations but doing nothing to identify the culprit or recover the money.
“What have you done in 720 days of your government? Have you brought in a single penny? Have you even identified a single person who has indulged in corruption,” asked Congress chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia.