Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a jibe at the Congress over the Enforcement Directorate chargesheet in which the probe agency said that alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland scam, Christian Michel, has identified the initials “AP” as Ahmed Patel.
Addressing a campaign rally in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the PM said that Congress and corruption “work hand in hand”.
“This Italian Michel ‘Mama’ and other middlemen were questioned for days. Among the names that the middlemen in the helicopter scam said were offered bribes, one of them is ‘AP’ and the other ‘FAM’. The chargesheet says that ‘AP’ means ‘Ahmed Patel’ and ‘FAM’ means ‘family’,” he said.
“The defining symbol of Congress rule is that corruption is on accelerator and vikas (development) is on ventilator,” he added.
Slamming the Congress manifesto on Kashmir, in which the party suggested a review of the AFSPA, the PM said that if one reads the “deception document” (his phrase for the manifesto), one would know “Congress ka haath kiske saath hai” (who has the Congress backing)”.
“If the Congress comes to power they will remove the protective cover of the law that helps the soldiers in tackling terrorists, separatists and stone-pelters in Jammu-Kashmir,” he said.
In his appeal to the gathering in the state from where many join the Indian armed forces the PM said that it was his government which solved the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue which was pending for the last 40 years.
“Those whose intent is to collect notes and votes had left no stone unturned to keep this matter hanging and diverted,” the PM said, hitting out at the Congress.
On Thursday, the ED in its chargesheet against Michel named Ahmed Patel and one “Mrs Gandhi”. The chargesheet was filed before a court in Delhi.
While the identity of the said Ahmed Patel is not clear, it is understood that it refers to the senior Congress leader. The veteran leader has not been named in the PMLA FIR of the case. Patel in the past has denied any wrongdoing in the case.
Patel reportedly rejected the chargesheet as “baseless, ridiculous and an election gimmick”.
Michel, however, alleged that the chargesheet was leaked to the media even before the court took cognisance of it and before serving a copy to the accused following which Delhi’s Patiala House Court has issued notice to the ED.
The alleged middleman said that he has not named anybody in connection with the deal during investigation by the ED.
The probe agency will reply tomorrow.