No bilateral meeting was held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last year, External Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry was reacting to allegations by James Christian Michel, the middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, on purported meeting between Modi and Renzi where the Indian leader offered to free two Italian marines, facing murder charges in India, in exchange of evidence linking Sonia Gandhi and her family to the corruption in the Rs 3600 crore deal.
“There was no meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Renzi of Italy as part of PM’s bilateral meetings at the UNGA in September 2015. Insofar as James Christian Michel is concerned, various law enforcement authorities of India are proceeding against him in cases relating to the Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA),” the ministry said.
It also noted that an open ended non-bailable arrest warrant has been issued by the special judge of CBI against Michel on September 24, 2015.
“Upon a CBI request a Red notice against him has been issued by the Interpol Headquarters on November 25, 2015. A request for provisional arrest for the purpose of extradition was made to UK authorities on January 4, this year by the CBI. The Enforcement Directorate, another autonomous agency to handle private money laundering and foreign exchange irregularities, has also separately sent a Red Corner notice seeking arrest and a request for his extradition from the UK on February 29, this year,” it added.