The BJP on Monday sharpened its attack on the main opposition party over the AgustaWestland helicopter case, with party president Amit Shah tweeting that the “friendship” between Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the deal, and the Congress’s top leadership is “time tested and deep”.
Yogi Adityanath and Devendra Fadnavis, chief ministers of BJP-governed Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, meanwhile, addressed the media in Lucknow and Mumbai, respectively, and asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the party’s former chief Sonia Gandhi to explain the “revelations” made by Michel, allegedly about the Congress benefitting from bribery in the deal.
Shah tweeted: “Trails of the AgustaWestland Case. the SOS of Christian Michel. Does anyone know why Christian Michel passed on the details of questioning on Mrs Gandhi to his lawyer? Did he want them to be passed on to Mrs. Gandhi herself? Why?”
He claimed that Michel’s lawyer has admitted that the alleged middleman passed papers to him and claimed that he thought it was a list of medicines. In a dig without naming Sonia and Rahul, Shah posted that pain relievers such as Zandu balm and Tiger balm are well known, but what is the “family balm” that every middleman wants.
In multiple tweets, Shah stated, “…what must be told again and again is the Congress background of Michel’s lawyer. The so called expulsion remains a sham. He remains the conduit between Michel and Mrs Gandhi! In national interest, Michel’s lawyer must tell us about the existence of documents of 2008, which make a reference to Mrs Gandhi. Evidently, the friendship between Michel and one family in India is time tested and deep.”
The Congress had expelled Aljo Joseph, an office-bearer of its youth wing, after he appeared as a legal counsel for Michel.
In Lucknow, Adityanath alleged that Congress leaders pocketed bribe amounting to Rs 150 crore in the alleged scam. He claimed, “In the AgustaWestland chopper scam of Rs 3,700 crore, Congress and its leaders got around Rs 150 crore — that is why the Congress was so worried with Michel’s arrest. With the kind of relationship Congress leaders have with Michel, the party immediately sent its lawyer to (represent) him. This is an example of a suspicious and guilty mind…”
In Mumbai, Fadnavis demanded a reply from Sonia and Rahul Gandhi on alleged corruption in the deal and said that NCP president Sharad Pawar has no option but to defend the Congress. —WITH INPUTS FROM ENS, LUCKNOW & MUMBAI