The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday said it will strongly raise in Parliament the allegation of payment of bribes in the VVIP chopper deal and ask for a reply from the government on whether the contract stood scrapped and who were the ultimate beneficiaries.
The executive committee meeting of BJP's Parliamentary Party, chaired by L K Advani, decided to raise the issue in Parliament in a major way, while party president Rajnath Singh demanded a comprehensive investigation into the deal, saying anyone found guilty should be punished.
"I am demanding a comprehensive investigation into this helicopter scam. Whoever is guilty should be punished," Singh told mediapersons in New Delhi.
Party leader Yashwant Sinha said, "We will raise this issue in Parliament and raise it strongly and ask for a discussion. The government will have to come out with the truth, not only about whether the deal has been cancelled or deal is on, but who is the ultimate beneficiary of the kickbacks."
He said there have been "differing voices" from various sources in the government and it was not clear as to whether the deal was on or stood cancelled.
"We are not even sure whether the deal has been scrapped or not. Because information is coming out of the government itself that the prime minister (Manmohan Singh) is very unhappy at the fact that the deal is sought to be cancelled. The external affairs minister (Salman Khurshid) has gone on record to say that the deal should not be cancelled," Sinha said.
After the executive committee meeting of its parliamentary party at Advani's residence, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "There is a scam in this government before every session of Parliament. Earlier, it was the coal allocation scam and now the helicopter scam....
"The ministers in this government are speaking in different voices on the scam. While the defence minister (A K Antony) is saying we will scrap the deal, the external affairs minister is against it," he said.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said that he has not expressed "reservation" on the issue of scrapping the deal.