Follow Us:

‘Every middleman needs this Family Balm’: Amit Shah targets Gandhis over AgustaWestland chopper scam

The ED had earlier claimed that Christian Michel was misusing legal access by passing chits to the advocates asking them how to tackle questions on ‘Mrs Gandhi’.

SNS | New Delhi |

BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday targeted the Gandhi family over the claims of the Enforcement Directorate that the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, Christian Michel sought the help of lawyers to evade questions on Sonia Gandhi.

In a series of tweets captioned “Trails of the AgustaWestland Case…the SOS of Christian Michel”, Shah questioned, “Does anyone know why Christian Michel passed on the details of questioning on Mrs. Gandhi to his Lawyer? Did he want them to be passed on to Mrs. Gandhi herself? Why?”

Shah said Michel’s lawyer AljoK Joseph had admitted that a paper was indeed passed on to him who thought it was a list of medicines, which could have been transparently given in any case.

Further sharpening his attack, Shah took a jibe at the Gandhis saying, “We have heard of Zandu Balm and Tiger Balm but what is this ‘Family Balm’ that every middleman wants?”

“In any case, what must be told again and again is the Congress background of Michel’s lawyer. The so called expulsion remains a SHAM. He remains the conduit between Michel and Mrs. Gandhi!” the BJP leader further added.

A Delhi court hearing the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case imposed restrictions on Michel meeting his lawyers in ED custody after the agency said that he was misusing legal access by passing chits to the advocates asking them how to tackle questions on “Mrs Gandhi”.

In its application seeking extension of Michel’s remand, the ED also claimed that he has spoken about the “son of an Italian lady” and how he is going to become the next prime minister of the country.

The probe agency also sought that Michel be barred from meeting his lawyer during its custody, alleging that he was tutored from outside through his lawyers.

The agency told the court that Michel had made a reference to ‘Mrs Gandhi’ during interrogation on December 27. During medical examination, the accused had handed over a folded paper to his advocate AljoK Joseph and it was noticed by ED officials. After perusal of the paper, it was revealed that it pertained to a set of follow-up questions on ‘Mrs Gandhi’.

Though the agency did not make any clear reference to Sonia Gandhi, the Congress had hit out at the BJP-led government at the Centre, accusing it of using agencies to put pressure on Michel to “name a particular family” as elections were near and it has no real issues.

Michel, who was extradited from Dubai recently, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on December 22 and sent to seven days custody of the agency over money laundering charges in the scam after he was produced in a court in Delhi.

He was earlier lodged in Tihar Jail in the related CBI case.

The CBI has alleged that he was paid a huge bribe amount by AugustaWestland which was given to the officers of Indian Air Force, MOD, bureaucrats, politicians and a family in India for showing favour in VVIP Helicopter deal.

It alleged that an amount of euro 42.27 million was paid by Westland Group companies to the firms of accused as kickbacks.

Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the ED and the CBI. The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million – about Rs 2,666 crore – to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.