‘Who are AP, FAM in Agusta deal?’: PM Modi attacks Congress
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday fired a fresh salvo at the Congress and raised the chargesheet filed in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case at a rally in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun.
Referring to the extraditions of AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam alleged middleman Christian Michel and Rajiv Saxena from Dubai in December 2018 and January 2019, he said that the two men had been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over many weeks.
“Your chowkidaar got back some middlemen from Dubai. Probe agencies questioned Italy’s (Christian) Michel mama and other middlemen for many weeks. A chargesheet was filed in court. It says the people who have been bribed are AP and FAM. This chargesheet says AP means Ahmed Patel and FAM stands for Family. You know who is Ahmed Patel, right? He was a close associate of the former CM of Uttarakhand. Now tell me which family is he close to? Who benefitted from the chopper deal?” PM Modi said.
WATCH: ‘Congress setting new graft records’: PM Modi rakes up Agusta chargesheet
Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam on Friday moved a Delhi court and claimed that he has not named anybody before the probe agency. Michel’s counsel, Advocate Aljo K Joseph, who has filed the plea on Michel’s behalf, claimed that “he (Michel) never named anyone”, news agency PTI reported.
Reacting to the allegations levelled by the BJP, the Congress termed the reports about the ED chargesheet naming senior Congress leaders as “rehashed insinuations, lies and cheap election stunts”.
“A panic-stricken Modi government and its puppet ED will not be able to change its exit date and fate. The Prime Minister has already been rejected by the people,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
But Union finance minister Arun Jaitley countered the Congress’s charge at a press conference and said, “The evidence is overwhelming. The needle of suspicion is clear and if no answer is given, it means there is no answer that can be offered.”
The main accused in the case, Christian Michel was extradited by Dubai and arrested in December last year. His statement records were also submitted and mentioned in the supplementary chargesheet. The court will consider the matter on April 6.
The ED, which is probing this case along with the CBI, had filed a charge sheet against Michel in 2016 and had alleged that he received 30 million euros (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland which was nothing but “kickbacks” to execute the 12-helicopter deal in favour of the firm in “guise of” of genuine transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.
The VVIP chopper case involves a Rs 3,600-crore contract for the purchase of 12 luxury helicopters. The helicopters were meant to be used by top leaders such as the President of India, Prime Minister, former PMs and other VIPs.