The Congress on Thursday accused the government of pressuring Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper scandal, to frame UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in return for exoneration from any charge. It alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using investigating agencies to tarnish the reputation of opposition leaders.
The Congress allegation came a day ahead of Lok Sabha taking up an Opposition-moved no-confidence motion against the BJP-led government.
The Congress also accused the government of misusing the probe agencies after the CBI filed a chargesheet in the Aircel-Maxis deal case naming former union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram as accused.
According to reports, Michel was arrested in Dubai two days ago. Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said that Michel’s advocate Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos and his sister Sasha Ozemen have told India Today television channel that the “Modi government and its agencies were forcing him to sign a false confessional statement naming Gandhi in return for complete exoneration from any charge whatsoever in the AgustaWestland case”.
He claimed that Indian agencies have failed to produce any evidence in the courts in Dubai so far and “are merely involved in hatching a conspiracy against leaders of opposition and using Christian Michel as a tool for the purpose”.
“Never before in the history of India has a Prime Minister been found complicit in gaining false evidence against opposition leaders to seek revenge,” he alleged.
Reacting to the chargesheet in the Aircel-Maxis case, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “This government is misusing its power and authority and the agencies of the state. Let the court determine.” He said it was for the first time that “multiple agencies are registering cases for the same alleged offence.”
“The CBI registers one. Then there is constant harassment, interrogation and bail. Then the ED comes in the PMLA matters. Then the revenue intelligence moves in. Agencies of the state are doing this work. That is why there is flight of capital. Lot of businessman have left the country…” he said.
Sharma said the opposition will neither be deterred nor deflected by such development.