- Citing a statement of AgustaWestland ‘middleman’ Christian Michel before his extradition that Indian probe agencies were pressuring him to name a member of the Gandhi family, the Congress on Saturday termed the Enforcement Directorate investigation a “fixed match”.
Congress spokesperson R P N Singh, during a press conference, said that in Dubai, when journalists had talked to Michel's lawyer, he had given a statement about how government agencies were trying that he name a particular family.
Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said that in fact Michel had said before his extradition "on record in court that he was being pressured to name a member of the Gandhi family and that is what they were planning and have done".
"The motive is clear. What he said is prophecy and this has happened. This is an outright fixed match fraudulently aimed at planting something on the Gandhi family," Vadakkan said.
Michel was produced before a special court Saturday which extended his ED custody by seven days.
Earlier today, the ED, in its submission before the court, said that Michel was found handing over a folded note to his lawyer Alio Joseph.
“Persual of the folded paper revealed that it pertained to a set of questions with regard to follow up questions on Mrs Gandhi. It is clear that there is conspiracy to shield and/tamper the evidence that could be brought forth from the questioning of the accused,” the ED told the court.
Countering the charge, RPN said, “We have seen what the BJP has been doing in the matter…The BJP scriptwriters are working overtime."
"We know that elections have come and they (BJP) do not have any issues, so through the ED, they are trying to put pressure on people," he said.
The BJP has used the extradition of Michel to India to hit out at the Congress as it has often alleged that some leaders of the opposition party were involved in corruption in the VVIP chopper deal.
Weighing in on the subject, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "We are now getting evidence that show that this theft will be proven and the 'chor' will be caught very soon. All evidence points to one party and one family. The true story of this corruption is coming to the fore."
Slamming the government over the issue, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters that, "The Modi government is guilty of a malicious and vicious propaganda."
"There is brazen and shameless abuse of agencies of the state," he said.
Michel was arrested in the UAE and extradited to India on December 4. He is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
(With PTI inputs)