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Tainted chopper deal: A low after the Afzal Guru high for UPA


Pallavi Ghosh,CNN-IBN
Feb 14, 2013 at 09:12pm IST

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New Delhi: As things get hot for the UPA over the tainted chopper deal, the blame game has acquired full momentum, with the Congress even dragging the dead. Brajesh Mishra, the National Security Advisor (NSA) during Atal Bihari Vajapyee's regime, was blamed for changing the rules of the bidding process. The Congress has now blamed the NDA for changing the rules of the bidding process for procurement of VVIP choppers which facilitated entry of AgustaWestland.

Congress alleges that, in 2003, Brajesh Mishra wrote to the then Defence Secretary that the existing rules were unfair as it allowed only single bidding and that the qualifying height of the choppers should be reduced from 18,000 feet to at least 14,000 feet.

And Congress has pounced on this fine print, saying that Mishra helped the controversial company come in and surprisingly, Jaswant Singh, a member of the Vajpayee's cabinet seemed to have endorsed it. But an alarmed BJP which wants to take on the Congress in the Budget session was quick to distance itself from Jaswant Singh's comments.

Although the Congress is doing all the talking, it keeps quiet on several questions.

- The issue came up first a year ago. Why did AK Antony take so long to order a probe?

- Why did Antony's statement in Parliament make false assurance?

- The Special Protection Group's specified requirements were fulfilled by many other firms. Why was AgustaWestland chosen when it was costlier?

If the UPA was gung-ho after the Afzal Guru's hanging, hoping to counter the uproar over Shinde's Hindu terror remark, this latest chopper controversy is bound to ground the Congress's dream of having an edge over the BJP.

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