AgustaWest chopper scam: BJP says Christian Michel's extradition could spell serious trouble for Congress' first family

New Delhi: The BJP said Tuesday the extradition of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, was a diplomatic victory for India and could spell "serious trouble" for the Congress' "first family".

The ruling party also asserted that the development was an unequivocal affirmation of the Narendra Modi government's "seriousness in fighting corruption".

"Extradition of Christian Michel is a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government. Now that he will be available to the CBI, the 'real' bribe-receivers of the AgustaWestland bribes scandal will be exposed," Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Claiming that Michel was "known to be a Gandhi-family loyalist", Rao said "his extradition and custody could spell serious trouble for the Congress' first family".

The Congress has denied all allegations against its leaders in connection with the deal.

Michel is being extradited to India from the United Arab Emirates and scheduled to be brought back on Tuesday night from Dubai, according to official sources.

Terming it a "diplomatic victory" for the Modi government, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, "The country is entitled to know the truth on who were the bribe-receivers in India. Certainly, we are closer to know the truth."

It is also a confirmation that the efforts made by the India side before the courts in Dubai were serious and based on sound legal arguments, Kohli said.

But, above all, he added, it was an unequivocal affirmation of the Modi government's "seriousness in fighting corruption".

On 1 January, 2014, India had scrapped the contract with AgustaWestland, a British subsidiary of Finmeccanica, for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received about Rs 225 crore from AgustaWestland.

Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Both the agencies had notified an Interpol red-corner notice against him.

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Updated Date: Dec 04, 2018 23:23 PM

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