New Delhi. Middleman Christian Michel in the Agusta Westland Helicopter case, referring the Gandhi family, has turned the whole mater of the case once again to the Gandhis. In an interview given to the English channel NDTV he said, “Sonia Gandhi was the “driving force” behind the decision to acquire helicopters.”
When asked about the role of Gandhi family in the deal, Christian Michel replied like, “I have to defend Gandhi family to save myself. I have to call them innocent in order to be called innocent in the case.”
But Michel is still denying meeting Gandhis and said in the interview, “Have never met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the former President Dr Manmohan Singh. Neither the Congress nor the NDA government has interfered in the deal.”
Michel also recapitulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s offer to the Prime Minister of Italy to release the two Italian marines imprisoned in India on murder charges in return of complete information about Agusta deal. This statement is very much denied by the India government till now.
In February 2010, India signed a pact for 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters. The present UPA government aborted the contract in January 2014 on the ground that middlemen were paid more than Rs 375 crore to secure the deal. Michel is amongst the three non Indian middleman alleged for receiving around Rs360 crore from Agusta Westland Limited.
The deal came into limelight in April when an Italian court reversed the decree of a lower court that there is no proof to prove the corruption. But the higher court in Milan found two top Italian executives guilty.