NEW DELHI (IANS) — A day after British national Christian Michel James, a middleman wanted in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, was extradited to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the accused, who has taken UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s name, will spill the beans on the deal during the UPA government’s tenure.
The Congress hit out at Modi and accused him of being the “protector, benefactor and promoter” of AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica and demanded a CBI probe into the Prime Minister’s role while its President Rahul Gandhi sought explanation from Modi on Rafale.
Addressing an election meeting in Rajasthan’s Sumerpur, the Prime Minister used the “namdaar” jibe to attack Rahul Gandhi and said those leaders whose four generations ruled the country had to knock the doors of court.
“You must have read in today’s newspapers about VVIP helicopter scam of thousands of crore. You would be aware about 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 ‘razdar’ (one who knows all secrets).
“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.
Modi said a ‘chaiwala’ was able to do so because of the people who voted him to power.
“Why are those who did corruption on bail today? Why are the sons of these corrupt in jail today? How was this ‘razdar’ brought to India?” he asked the people and answered it himself saying this was possible because of their vote.
Addressing a press conference in poll-bound Rajasthan’s Jaipur, BJP President Amit Shah accused the Congress of playing negative politics and rejected charges that extradition of Michel was a diversionary tactic.
“Congress has no other issue left. Should we not have nabbed the ‘bichauliya’ (middleman)? Does the opposition want to save him?” he asked.
Rahul Gandhi, who was in Telangana to address election rallies, refused to comment on the extradition of Michel, but sought the Prime Minister’s explanation on the controversial Rafale jet deal.
“Congress party has made its position very very clear in this matter earlier in a press conference. The Prime Minister should explain why he gave Rs 30,000 crore on Rafale to Anil Ambani,” he told reporters.
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala accused Modi of being the “protector, benefactor and promoter” of AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica and demanded a CBI probe into the Prime Minister’s role in “exonerating” the Italian defence and aerospace major which was blacklisted by the UPA.
Citing Michel’s advocate Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos’ July 17 statement, Surjewala said the “Modi government and its agencies were forcing Michel to sign a false confessional statement naming UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in return for complete exoneration from any charge whatsoever in the AgustaWestland Case”.
“Even Michel’s sister had come out and reiterated the coercions of falsely naming opposition leaders as a ticket for exoneration of Christian Michel. Their interviews were recorded by many Indian TV channels also,” said Surjewala.
“Never before in the history of India has a Prime Minister been found complicit in gaining false evidence against opposition leaders to seek revenge.
“This shocking expose is also a testimony to the disease prevailing in CBI/ED prostrating before the Prime Minister to collect fake and false evidence with a single minded aim of tarnishing the reputation of opposition leaders and serving the political masters as a captive puppet and a willing tool of malicious conspiracy,” alleged Surjewala.
“The most intriguing part of the conspiracy is the undisclosed reason on part of Modi government for permitting a blacklisted company to get clearances from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and permit its entry as partner or sub-contractor to various Indian corporates.
“Not only this, the Modi government also sought a special opinion from its Attorney General in July, 2014 and permitted AgustaWestland/Finmeccanica to be part of Make in India and bid for 100 Naval Utility Helicopters, besides clearing its investment proposals through FIPB for manufacture of AW119 helicopters in partnership with Tata,” said Surjewala.
The Congress said it was time for the CBI to investigate Modi’s role in exonerating AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica instead of “weaving fake story to deflect attention”.