VVIP chopper deal: AgustaWestland was never blacklisted, says Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jailtey meets the press during Assembly Election at Press Club in Kolkata
Sharpening the attack on Congress on the AgustaWestland chopper deal, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely today said the theory that the company was blacklisted during the UPA rule and it was lifted by NDA was a "figment of imagination".

Jaitley disputed the statement of former Defence Minister A K Antony that the UPA regime had blacklisted AugustaWestland Finmeccanica after the bribe issue came out on the chopper deal.

Targeting Antony, he said the statement given by him to the party suffers from a "misnomer" as much as its mentions that the company was blacklisted by the UPA regime and that it was lifted by the NDA.

"This is a figment of somebody's imagination," Jaitley, a former defence minister, said during an interaction with the audience after releasing the NDA vision document for the May 16 Kerala assembly polls here.

He alleged that the decision to award the contract was influenced by bribery.

"The buck stops with those who took the decision and the decision was influenced by bribery. The fact that there was bribery is unquestionably there. There is a transaction in which bribe giver is being convicted. We are only struggling to find out the identity of the bribe taker," he said.

"Obviously, the bribe taker has to be among those who influenced to ward the contract. Strangers don't get bribes. Those who influenced decision get bribes," Jaitley added.

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