Agusta scam: Have to protect Gandhis to protect myself, says middleman
The AgustaWestland case refers to alleged bribery and corruption involving several senior officials and helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland surrounding the purchase of a new fleet of VVIP helicopters by India.india Updated: May 13, 2016 10:29 IST
Christian Michel, an accused in the VVIP chopper scam, said on Thursday that in a note he did describe Congress president Sonia Gandhi as the “driving force” behind the decision to buy helicopters for the use of politicians but clarified that his suggestion that she and other Congress leaders be lobbied by diplomats didn’t mean bribes were paid.
“I have to protect the Gandhis to protect myself,” Michel said in an interview with NDTV. “I have to prove they are innocent to prove my innocence.”
This came on a day when the CBI rejected his offer to depose via video-conferencing from the Indian consulate in Dubai. The investigating agency said on Thursday that Michel would have to come to India for questioning.
In an interview with another news channel on Wednesday, Michel had offered to get “interviewed” from the Dubai consulate since he feared “getting arrested” on his arrival in India. “The CBI will take its probe in the VVIP choppers’ deal case to its logical conclusion. Christian Michel should join the probe in India,” an agency spokesperson said.
On Thursday, the British national told NDTV that he visited India 180 times as he loved the country. He also spoke of his father’s connections with Congress leaders in 1980s but clarified that he had inherited neither his wealth nor his Congress connections. The alleged British middleman said he did not personally know Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi. He never met Sonia Gandhi or Ahmed Patel, he said.
BJP MP Anurag Thakur had claimed that a senior Congress leader had flown to Dubai to meet Michel. But Michel denied that.