‘Right to silence isn’t given to PM aspirant’: Arun Jaitley targets Rahul Gandhi on AgustaWestland case

‘Right to silence isn’t given to PM aspirant’: Arun Jaitley targets Rahul Gandhi on AgustaWestland case


New Delh: BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Friday questioned Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s “silence” on the Enforcement Directorate charge sheet in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, saying right to silence belongs to an accused but not to a prime ministerial aspirant.

Addressing a press conference, Jaitley said the Congress should answer as to who were referred to as “RG”, “AP” and “FAM” in documents cited by the ED and added that Swiss police had also seized papers carrying similar initials in its raids in connection with the case in 2013.

“It could not be merely a coincidence,” he said, arguing that for the Congress to keep mum or “abusing” investigation agencies such as the CBI and the ED will not do.

File photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

The Congress said the ED charge sheet filed before a Delhi court on Thursday was a “cheap election stunt” to divert people’s attention from the “imminent defeat” of the Modi government in the polls.

Claiming that oral evidence corroborates what was found in diaries, Jaitley said the probe agencies began investigation in 2013 when the Congress-led UPA was in power.

“The right to silence is available to an accused, not to the prime ministerial aspiral,” the BJP leader said.

Contending that evidence is “overwhelming and needle of suspicion is clear”, Jaitley said he is demanding political answers to the allegations.

“The more you suppress the truth, the more it spreads so it is necessary that reply be given by the Congress,” the finance minister added.

The initials were allegedly mentioned in the dispatches of Christian Michel, an alleged middlemen in the chopper deal scam, which is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.

According to the ED charge sheet, Michel is understood to have identified the initials “AP” as Ahmed Patel, the senior Congress leader close to the Gandhi family.

However, Michel has filed an application in a Delhi court on Friday claiming he has not named anybody in connection with the deal.

The ED had told the court on Thursday that Michel and other accused received 42 million euros as kickbacks in the defence deal.

Jaitley said Rahul Gandhi and his party have also not responded to his charge of “sweetheart deals” on tenancies involving him. He claimed that Gandhi had imposed “censorship” on the Congress media cell over the issue.

“My conclusion is that when document-based allegations are levelled at a politician, then there must be some answer,” the BJP leader said, adding that even if the Congress believes that documents were incorrect, then it should say so.

“When no reply is given to such serious allegations, the country is entitled to presume no reply could have been given,” he told reporters.

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