AK Antony defends Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi: They never interfered in defence deals

Jan 01, 2019, 12:05 IST | Agencies

The former defence minister denied allegations of any interference from the two in defence deals during his term

AK Antony defends Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi: They never interfered in defence deals
Former Defence Minister AK Antony and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Defending UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Defence Minister AK Antony on Monday said that the duo did never interfere in defence deals during the UPA regime.

Antony, who was India's Defence Minister from 2006 to 2014, when AgustaWestland deal was signed, said: "It was during my tenure as the Defence Minister, the procurement of AgustaWestland took place. I would like to say categorically that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi never interfered in deals and procurement. AgustaWestland was selected after the evaluation was done by a team of officials."

"We took the decision to blacklist five to six powerful companies, including one American, Russian and Singaporean company. That was our track record, but what is the track record of the present government," he questioned.

The issue came up after Special Public Prosecutor DP Singh told a Delhi court that the alleged AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel, arrested on December 5, named a "Mrs Gandhi", apparently referring to UPA chairman Sonia Gandhi, during ED interrogation. "He has also spoken about 'the son of the Italian lady' and how he is going to become the 'next prime minister of the country'," Singh had told the court on Saturday.

'Don't run away from Rafale debate'
The Congress raised the Rafale deal in the Lok Sabha on Monday, asking why the government was not disclosing the price of jets. In response, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asserted that the government was ready to reply and that the Congress was rather "running away" from a debate.

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