Agusta deal: Govt rejects charge that PM Modi struck deal with Italy
The government on Friday rebutted charges that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had struck a deal with Italy on AgustaWestland case and said the central issue was corruption and any other effort to divert from it was “misleading”.india Updated: Apr 30, 2016 01:28 IST
The NDA government on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not entertain an offer by Christian Michel, the British middleman in the VVIP chopper scam, to get questioned in India because he is “a criminal wanted by law enforcement agencies”.
This came in response to the Congress’ counter-offensive against the government, asking why the PM did not take “any action” in response to Michel’s offer, made last November, to be questioned by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.
In a press release, the government denied allegations linking one of the accused in the
chopper deal with national security adviser Ajit Doval and principal secretary to the PM, Nripendra Mishra.
“This is a totally baseless assertion, devoid of reason and logic, and indicative of malicious intent. In reality, there is no such connection,” said the official release.
Earlier in the day, Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh had said that the main accused, retired air chief marshal SP Tyagi, is a leading member of the Vivekananda International Foundation of which Doval, along with other BJP and RSS luminaries, was also a member.
Referring to Michel’s letter to the PM, the government said, “It is well known that any understanding/agreement with an accused outside the frame of law is a criminal act in itself. Michel is a criminal wanted by the Indian law enforcement agencies. We are pursuing all legal means to arrest him and have him extradited to India.”
The government also rubbished allegations that Modi had met his Italian counterpart and “cut a deal” involving evidence against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in exchange for freedom of Italian marines.
It also rebutted opposition parties’ claims that Modi government permitted AgustaWestland to bid for 100 naval utility helicopters in April 2015.
First Published: Apr 29, 2016 22:53 IST