The sensation revelation of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been sending shivers among top political circles in the country indicating the problems likely to be faced by Congress supreme leaders Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. Since the success of the Indian probe agencies in getting chopper scam middleman Christian Michel from Dubai, fingers of suspicions are pointing towards these two key opposition leaders.
The ED today informed informed Delhi’s Patiala House Court that Michel has names UPA chairperson and Congress’ former President Sonia Gandhi, while in custody. However, it is not clear in what reference has Gandhi been named. Without naming Rahul Gandhi, the ED lawyer also told the court that Christian Michel has also spoken about “the son of the Italian lady” and how he is going to become the “next prime minister of the country.
Seeking further custody of Michel, who was extradited from UAE earlier this month over money laundering charges in the VVIP chopper scam, the Enforcement Directorate produced him before the Patiala House court, where it said that the accused “has taken the name of Mrs Gandhi but in what reference can’t be said right now.”
The deal to acquire 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland was initialled in 2010 but was scrapped on January 1, 2014 over the alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks by it for securing the deal. Christian Michel, a British businessman accused of receiving kickbacks for the chopper deal, was extradited to India from the UAE on December 4.
The court had given last week ED the custody of Michel and extended it further today by 7 days. Arguing for his custody, the agency said, “We need to decipher who the “big man” referred to as “R” is in the communication between Christian Michel and other people. We need to confront Michel with other people to decipher who “the big man” or “R” is.”
ED also sought to ban Michel’s lawyer’s access to him alleging that he was being tutored from outside. The court also asked his lawyers to maintain a distance while meeting him. The court also restricted the time limit of lawyers to meet Michel to 15 minutes every morning and evening.