Swamy gives privilege notice against Azad on AgustaWestland scam

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday submitted a breach of privilege notice in the Rajya Sabha against Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for “lying” that the UPA government had blacklisted helicopter maker AgustaWestland and its Italian parent Finmeccanica.

Swamy said in a tweet the notice pertained to the breach of privilege committed by Azad “for wilfully telling a lie to RS (Rajya Sabha) on AW (AgustaWestland) blacklisting”.

Azad is the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. Swamy became a member of the upper house on Tuesday as one of the nominees of the BJP-led central government.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader raised the issue soon after the house met and said he had submitted a privilege notice.

“The notice is under Rule 187 for breach of privilege against Ghulam Nabi Azad,” he said.

Swamy had said before entering parliament that Azad “lied” about blacklisting.

“No blacklisting took place. It is also untrue that we removed the blacklisting. We gave orders that there would be no fresh purchase by the defence ministry until court gives decision,” Swamy said, responding to Congress’ allegation that the present government took the helicopter maker off the supposed “black list”.

As Swamy spoke, he was interrupted by Congress members, including Kumari Selja who questioned why his microphone was “always on”.

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien urged the Congress members to be quiet and told Swamy that his notice will be examined by Chairman Hamid Ansari.

“There is a rule by which privilege notices are dealt with. The notice will be first examined by the chairman, if he prima facie finds there is some case he will refer it to the privileges committee,” Kurien said.

The BJP and the Congress have been battling it out in Parliament since it emerged that bribes were paid in India during the UPA rule for the Rs. 3,600 crore deal with AgustaWestland for 12 VIP helicopters.

Soon after joining the Rajya Sabha, Swamy has been leading the attack on the Congress on the helicopter deal or the “AgustaWestland scam”. On Wednesday, he named Congress president Sonia Gandhi in connection with the scam — the comments that were later expunged from the records.

Swamy protested against the expunction.

“I have also filed a Notice in RS challenging the expunging of my words by Dy Chmn since it is arbitrary unreasonable and against RS Rules,” he said in one of his tweets on Friday.

In another tweet, Swamy said Hamid Ansari has assured him a hearing over expunging of his remarks in the Rajya Sabha.

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