Congress MP produces Michel’s letter

Modi govt. accused of pressuring AgustaWestland middleman to implicate Gandhi family

May 06, 2016 02:24 am | Updated November 17, 2021 07:24 am IST - New Delhi:

A day after the AgustaWestland debate in the Rajya Sabha, Congress MP Pramod Tewari snatched a few moments as soon as the session started on Thursday to accuse the Narendra Modi government of pressuring AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel to implicate a member of the Gandhi family in the case.

Mr. Tewari was quoting from a letter Mr. Michel wrote on December 23, 2015, to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea based in Hamburg in Germany.

In his letter, a copy of which is with The Hindu , Mr. Michel alleges that he was told all investigations against him in the Agusta deal would be dropped if he “was willing to denounce any member of the Gandhi family relating to the so-called VVIP helicopter scandal.”

‘Modi met Italian PM’

Further, he says that during the U.N. Summit in New York last September, Mr. Modi met the Italian Prime Minister and proposed to him that “in return for any evidence that the key adviser [i.e. Mr. Michel] to Finmeccanica/ AgustaWestland had any relationship to any member of the Gandhi family ... the honourable Indian PM would assist in solving the case against the 2 Italian marines.”

Mr. Michel says he wrote to Mr. Modi on November 8, 2015, complaining about the “political vendetta” against him which “was much before the political vendetta against the Gandhi family.”

“In my letter,” he continues, “I also complained … about the inappropriate use of the marines as a bargaining tool for his political agenda.”

Earlier in the letter, he accuses Mr. Modi who, he says, “ … ordered the CBI and the ED to move against me issuing an arrest warrant ... for a crime which has been investigated for 2 years by an Italian court in which I have been completely exonerated.”

Mr. Tewari, who cited Rule 267 (that deals with suspension of rules) to make this extraordinary intervention was not allowed to complete his submission by the Chair, who said he should have given notice earlier.

‘Ploy to destroy Gandhis’

Later, the Congress MP told The Hindu : “There are some traitors who want to destabilise the country. First Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were assassinated; now they want to destroy Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.”

Mr. Tewari’s intervention in the Rajya Sabha comes a day ahead of a Calling Attention Motion in the Lok Sabha and the Congress’ “Save Democracy” rally at which the party may launch a sharp attack against the government over many issues, including the AgustaWestland scandal.

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