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Will Quit Public Life If Any Wrongdoing Proved, Says Ahmed Patel

Under attack for his name being dragged in the AgustaWestland controversy, Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday pressed for a thorough probe into the deal, declaring that he will quit Rajya Sabha as well as public life if any allegation against him is proved

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Under attack for his name being dragged in the AgustaWestland controversy, Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday (04 May) pressed for a thorough probe into the deal, declaring that he will quit Rajya Sabha as well as public life if any allegation against him is proved.

Patel, the political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, said the "propaganda" against him was due to baseless allegations to defame his party and its leaders.

"If anyone proves any wrongdoing by me, I will quit public life and Rajya Sabha. There should be a thorough investigation carried out into this deal and guilty should be punished. Bring the truth out... I repeat again, if you can find an iota of truth against me, I will quit public life and resign from this House," he said in Rajya Sabha while participating in debate on the chopper controversy.

At the same time, he questioned, "what about people who are tarnishing the reputation of people by presenting wrong facts and baseless allegations? This is an attempt to defame Congress and its leaders."

Patel's name has been dragged into the controversy because of an initial 'AP' reportedly found in the documents recovered in connection with probe by the Italian authorities.

He said things are being created and "false propaganda" is being carried out to tarnish the reputation of people on the basis of wrong and baseless charges.

"My name has appeared four times in Italian court judgement. But has any leader been indicted or anyone painted as accused?" he asked.

He said he has been in public life for so many years but has never crossed its limits and that the CAG report should not be used as a tool for political mudslinging.

Patel said he had left his old mother behind in the village not to do anything wrong.

"I have not crossed any limits of public life. This is not my first 'agni-pareeksha' (trial by fire)," he said.

He quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who as Chief Minister had said, that 'CAG report should not be used as a tool for political bickerings'.

BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy took the fight directly into the Congress' camp, saying that those named in a note written by one of the alleged middleman should be questioned by the CBI and if necessary it should be done in custody.

Citing Italian court's documents, he alleged that a bribe of 30 million euros was paid, out of which 6 million euros went to IAF personnel, 8.4 million euros to bureaucrats and Rs 125 crore to 'AP'.

Swamy's speech was repeatedly disrupted by the Congress members, who created ruckus with its leaders insisting on authentication of whatever he was reading from. He replied that he was reading from the same note that Singhvi read from.

He said if he were to authenticate, then Singhvi also should do so as there cannot be separate rules for different people.

In the midst of exchanges, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said both will have to authenticate. Singhvi then authenticated his documents.

Refuting the Congress allegation, Swamy, who was nominated as Rajya Sabha member only last week, said the NDA government had in 2003 only wanted the IAF to see if a single vendor situation can be avoided and that the views of the SPG should be taken.

"It is a lie to say that NDA had lowered the flying height from 6,000 feet to 4,500 feet," he said, citing a 2013 Parliament reply of then Defence Minister A K Antony in which he said that in 2004 the IAF had said 6,000 feet was an "inescapable necessity".

He said the tender issued in 2006 had incorporated the changes.

(PTI)


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augustawestland ahmed patel congress corruption