New Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley Saturday sought clarifications from Defence Minister A.K. Antony on his statement on the now-cancelled VVIP chopper deal, raising doubts over the meaning being given to word “FAM” in documents seized from alleged middleman Guido Haschke.
In an article on his website, he said Antony, in his suo moto statement in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday after media reports based on documents furnished in Italian courts by prosecutors on the alleged kickbacks in the now-cancelled VVIP chopper deal, said that a crucial document seized from Haschke contains two important statements about “FAM” and “AP”.
“It mentions ‘as Mrs. Gandhi is the driving force behind the VIP, she will not fly any more in MI-8 (helicopter)’. This document gives a list of persons including various ministers and party functionaries who are close to Mrs.Gandhi.
“The account sheet, separately seized, uses under the title ‘Political’ which refers to ‘AP’. The next entry is ‘FAM’, which now is admitted to mean family,” Jaitley noted.
Noting Antony said Haschke, in replies during questioning, had said that “FAM” is family and “due to the family, that is to the Tyagi brothers” and stated that he did not know what “AP” means, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader alleged that “kickbacks have been paid and the Indian system has been subverted” in the deal.
“I have already said that these note sheets remind us of the 1987 seizures in Sweden where the entry in Martin Ardbo’s diary referred to the word ‘Q’. It eventually became clear as to who ‘Q’ was. Is it rocket science, in the political arena, to decipher the abbreviation mentioned in the note sheet?
“Is it not unusual for middleman to be referred to as ‘Family’? When words in their natural course are understood to have a particular meaning, why should the word ‘Family’ be given a meaning other than how it is understood in India?” Jaitley said.
Former air chief S.P. Tyagi is among the people being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the VVIP chopper deal.
The ministry had last month scrapped its contract with AgustaWestland to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force for “breach of pre-contract integrity pact and the agreement”.
The deal with AgustaWestland – the British subsidiary of Italian firm Finmeccanica – was scrapped more than a year after reports that two top officials of the company allegedly paid bribes to bag the contract for the chopper maker.