In a major development in the AgustaWestland case, Enforcement Directorate has told the Patiala House Court that Christian Michel, who was extradited earlier in December, has named 'Mrs Gandhi' and 'R'. Speaking to Republic TV, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that "today Razdaar has disclosed the name of the participant in the whole process".
"AgustaWestland whole deal was merged in a lot of corruption and controversy from day one. There was always a deliberate attempt to save some people involved. Today, the Razdaar has disclosed the name of the participant in the whole process. Today the Gandhi family in particular and Congress party, in general, has to explain to the country that why it ha happened. You cannot take a plea malafide or motivated. Right from Bofors to National Herald case and now the Christian Mitchel's utterances on AgustaWestland and earlier the whole submarine case, there's a long list of deals and deals in the Congress party where the family has found to be indulged in the serious case of corruption. For Mr Rahul Gandhi, who has been asking a lot of questions from us, today we need to ask him a question. Narendra Modi Ji has an impeccable record of probity, propriety and honesty and here a middleman is naming you directly".
When asked about the kickbacks that were received as far as the middleman was involved, he said:
"That is a matter of investigation. The CBI is doing its job ED is doing their job but what is important is that Christian Mitchel has named Gandhis. The entire nature of the investigation has to be followed. Today the epitome of impropriety and corruption is what Congress party is about".
"Here, ultimately he is a middleman. He has been writing letters to many influential people including media persons. Today in the course of the investigation, he is naming the Congress family. That is important, a matter of investigation. Obviously trial will take place and why not? We know it very well that in the case of Bofors no trial was allowed to take place. Here was a case by a proper pursuit of lawful process. Mitchel was extradited to India with the due permission of Dubai court and Mrs Gandhi and Congress have a lot to explain", he added.
Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. Both CBI and ED had notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
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. The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.