A Youth Congress leader, who represented Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, in court today, has been expelled by the party.
The Congress says Aljo K Joseph, national in charge for Indian Youth Congress legal department, was ousted as he did not consult the party before taking up the case.
"Aljo K Joseph appeared in his personal capacity. He did not consult the Youth Congress before appearing in the case. IYC does NOT endorse such actions. IYC has removed Aljo Joseph from IYC's Legal Department and expelled him from the party with immediate effect," Krishna Allavaru, Joint Secretary of All India Congress Committee, tweeted.
Mr Joseph representing Christian Michel in court has turned into a controversy as the BJP has been targeting Congress leaders Rahul and Sonia Gandhi over the case.
Mr Joseph, however, defending his decision to represent Michel, earlier today said his relations with the Congress were separate, and his profession was separate.
"One of my friends, who was having some Dubai connections, through him the lawyer in Italy had requested it. So I was just helping in appearing and assisting him in this matter," he told news agency ANI.
"I'm an actively practicing advocate. I appeared for him (Christian Michel) in my professional capacity. If somebody asks me to appear on behalf of a client...I've only discharged my duty as a lawyer. It has nothing to do with Congress," he added.
Christian Michel was sent to five-day CBI custody today. The government is investigating charges that Michel, a British national, organised bribes to push a Rs 3,600-crore contract for VVIP helicopters to be purchased for top Indian leaders.
The AgustaWestland case involves the deal to purchase 12 luxury helicopters for use by the President, Prime Minister, former prime ministers and other VIPs, when Manmohan Singh's Congress-led coalition was in power.
In 2014, the government scrapped the contract amid allegations that AgustaWestland, whose parent company Finmeccanica faced charges of bribery in Italy, had paid kickbacks in India.
The Enforcement Directorate has accused Michel of receiving 30 million Euros (about Rs. 225 crore) from AgustaWestland as kickbacks. Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen being examined in the case, along with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
In July, Michel's lawyer alleged that he was being pressured by Indian agencies to frame Sonia Gandhi in return for amnesty from criminal proceedings.