There was no meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi on the sidelines of the UNGA in September 2015 in New York City to discuss the VVIP AgustaWestland chopper scam and the Italian marines issue, the Ministry of External Affairs clarified on Wednesday.
The statement from the MEA follows The Hindu interview with James Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the scam, in which he claimed that during the meeting in New York, Mr. Modi had offered a trade-off between the two cases if Italy provided information about involvement of the Congress leadership.
In its response, the MEA said, “There was no meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Renzi of Italy as part of the PM’s bilateral meetings at the UNGA in September 2015.”
Earlier the MEA had refused to respond to a detailed questionnaire from The Hindu. In his interview, Mr. Michel claimed that he had written to Mr. Modi offering himself for questioning in the chopper scam in Dubai, where he is based, or in India, provided he was given assurances that he would not be arrested.
The MEA did not respond to Mr. Michel’s offer and on Wednesday reiterated that he is wanted in cases related to Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
“An open-ended non-bailable warrant has been issued by the Special Judge of CBI against him on 24.9.2015. Upon a CBI request a Red Corner notice against him has been issued by Interpol,” the MEA statement said.