The extradition of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, has given the BJP fresh ammunition to attack the Congress, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday stating that the British national will now reveal “secrets” of politicians he served.
“You must have read in today’s newspapers about VVIP helicopter scam of thousands of crore. You would be aware of a letter of Madam Sonia Gandhi. When we came to power to find out the files. We kept searching for it and finally found a ‘razdaar’ (one who knows all secrets),” the PM said while addressing a rally in Sumerpur in poll-bound Rajasthan’s Pali district.
Modi said a ‘chaiwala’ was able to do so because the people who voted him to power. “He was a middleman of England, who was living in Dubai. He used to serve the friends of ‘namdaar’ in Dubai. The government has brought him to India. This ‘razdar’ will reveal the secrets. Don’t know where and how far it will go,” he said.
57-year-old Michel was among the alleged middlemen who had brokered the deal and who, investigators claim, paid bribes to officials and politicians to swing the contract in favour of AgustaWestland, the British arm of Italian firm Finmeccanica. The deal cracked during the UPA era.
Micheal was brought to India on Tuesday night under the “guidance” of NSA Ajit Doval. He is expected to be produced before a Delhi court this afternoon.
Earlier in the day, when asked about the Opposition’s claim that Michel was extradited to take the limelight away from other issues, BJP chief Amit Shah said, “The Opposition has no other issue. Does the Opposition want to save him? Shouldn’t we be catching the middleman involved in the scam? Is it not important?”
Cong: CBI should probe PM for ‘exonerating’ AgustaWestland
In a bid to deflate the PM’s charge, Congress said BJP was “latching” on to Christian Michel for a “smear campaign” against opposition leaders. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused the Modi government of indulging in a “cover-up conspiracy” to hide its role in helping and promoting the “banned company” AgustaWestland and its parent company, Finmeccanica.
“While the BJP and PM Modi are seeking fake credit without being subjected to investigation by the CBI for their own complicity and connivance, they are latching on to Christian Michel for committing a smear campaign against opposition leaders. The truth qua Christian Michel is already out in the open,” he claimed.
Surjewala alleged the statement made by Michel’s advocate Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos after his detention in July had “clearly brought out” that the Modi government and its agencies were forcing him to sign a false confessional statement naming UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in return for complete exoneration from any charge whatsoever in the case.
“Even Christian Michel’s sister had come out and reiterated the coercion of falsely naming opposition leaders as a ticket of exoneration of Christian Michel,” he said. Surjewala also said it was time that CBI investigated the prime minister for his alleged role in “exonerating” AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica.