Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sharp attack on the Congress and the Gandhis on the last day of campaigning for state elections today featured Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal who was flown to New Delhi on Tuesday night after extradition from Dubai.
Speaking at an election rally in Rajasthan, PM Modi said," UPA ke karyalay mein desh mein VVIP helicopter ka ghotala hua. Hum sarkar mein aane ke baad us ghotale ki jaanch mein aur usme se ek raazdaar hamare haath lag paya. Aaj akhbaro mein padha hoga Bharat sarkar us raazdaar ko Dubai se le aayi hai. Ab yeh raazdaar raaz kholega toh pata nahi kitni door tak jayegi." (The VVIP helicopter scam took place during the (Congress-led) UPA rule. We investigated the scam after coming to power and caught one of the accused. You must have read in the papers that the government has got him extradited from from Dubai. Who knows what secrets will tumble out once he starts talking?)
The Prime Minister also referred to the Supreme Court ordering yesterday that the Income Tax assessment of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi in National Herald-linked case should continue. Alleging that the Gandhi family had been enjoying privileges for four generations, PM Modi said: "Now I will see how you escape... Look at the courage of a 'chaiwala' who took those running country for four generations to the court's door."
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.
India is investigating charges that Michel, a British national, organised bribes to push the Rs. 3,600-crore contract in India.
Michel, 54, was questioned through the night at the CBI headquarters.
Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen being examined in the case, along with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
The Congress alleges that the BJP government is trying to target its leaders in the middle of elections using the AugustaWestland investigation.