“Story Of Loot Out”: Union Minister After Christian Michel Names Gandhis

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The Enforcement Directorate has got Christian Michel's custody for seven more days. (File)

New Delhi:

Soon after the agency probing the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case told a Delhi court that alleged middleman Christian Michel took names of "Mrs Gandhi" and big man 'R', "Son of an Italian Lady", an apparent reference to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the Congress accused the BJP-led government of using central agencies to target the Gandhi family.

"The BJP scriptwriters are working overtime," Congress leader RPN Singh quipped.

Michel, 54, is one of the three alleged middlemen being investigated in Rs. 3,600-crore VVIP chopper scam for allegedly organising bribes for Indian politicians and bureaucrats to push for the AgustaWestland deal, involving 12 luxury choppers, during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.

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He was produced before a special court today by the Enforcement Directorate, which got an extension of seven days to question him in its custody.

While the context in which Christian Michel took the names isn't known yet, the Congress alleged that the British national was being pressurised into naming a particular family ahead of the national elections.

"We have seen what the BJP has been doing in this matter. In fact, one of the television channels showed how there is pressure on Christian Michel to name a particular family," Congress spokesperson RPN Singh said.

They (BJP) do not have any issues, so through the ED they are trying to put pressure on people, he added.

"But the person who has done the biggest 'chori' (theft) cannot be spared," the Congress leader added while referring to the Congress party's corruption allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rs 59,000-crore Rafale deal.

He (PM Modi) should come out and face questions on the scam, he suggested.

The BJP on the other hand was unsparing in its attack on the Congress. "The story of loot of public money is coming out. Everything went to one family," Union minister Prakash Javadekar alleged and also accused the party of compromising with the national security during its rule.

He said that Christian Michel's interrogation has revealed "a few new adverbs, few new nouns in this saga of chopper scam". "First there were only two words AP and the family that we debated. But everything is clear now," the minister said.

"Today is the time for the Gandhi family to explain," added Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

No wonder CONgress rushed a posse of lawyers to defend the indefensible. Any guesses who this 'son' is ? https://t.co/iClf0SQ0Oy

– Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) December 29, 2018

Mr Javadekar also hit out at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for running a "corrupt government". "The accidental prime minister presided over a loot raj. And that is why it was thrown out by people as it was a government of scams," he claimed.

Referring to Rahul Gandhi's "chowkidar chor hai (gatekeeper is the thief)" allegation, the minister said it is the "thief who is making noises".

"The mother and the son are on bail in a corruption case, the Income Tax department has issued a notice asking them to explain about Rs 6 crore investment in National Herald and National Herald has been asked by court to vacate the premises," Mr Javadekar said.

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