AgustaWestland chopper deal: I have never ever met one single Gandhi, says Middleman Michel


Willing to be interrogated by Indian agencies CBI and ED who are investigating the Rs. 3,565 Cr AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper deal, the alleged middleman James Christian Michel said that he is the victim of “political conspiracy”.

While on the other hand, the CBI has asked Interpol to arrest a British businessman who was also allegedly paid millions of dollars by AgustaWestland to influence politicians and officials in Italy and India to seal the deal.

Speaking in an Exclusive interview to The Hindu, Michel says he has written to PM Modi with the offer to be questioned in the scam that has raised a storm in parliament on Tuesday but it has been ignored.

In the interview, he has been asked that why did he wrote directly to the Prime Minister and why he is willing to be interrogated by Indian officials?

In a reply, Michel said he felt that he must inform PM of what was going on because the PM of a country as large as India may not be able to go into detail on any issue and he felt PM was being misled and he also added that he knows that the only way to clear this all up is face to face but he was scared of being stuck in India for years and years, which he cant afford.

He asked if he have an assurance that he won’t be detained than he will come here and that when he didn’t receive a reply from PMO than have he made his offer at the local Indian consulate or Embassy in the UAE?

He said yes, absolutely. He have all the documentations and added that he think he can’t demonstrate there has been no wrongdoing on my side, and he have said this many times and also added that local Indian consulate have been in contact with me, they called me on and asked me if I had applied for a visa, and I said no I haven’t. And that was the last I heard from them.

In a way to tempt the interview, he has been asked that do he know Gandhi family?

In a reply, he said this is something I am not terribly proud of; my father and I never really get on. We ended up suing each other. And he never let me into that side of his life (relations with the Gandhis). He knew many politicians but it had nothing to do with me. My one saving grace is that I have never ever met one single Gandhi, ever in my life and Yes, I know it sounds impossible, but never once, not at a hotel or a party. It is my greatest fortune that I have never met (a Gandhi).

At the time of UPA government, there were retired service people whom I consulted for information and their expertise, but that’s as far as I ever got. All of my contracts with them have been sent to India and looked into. There has been no wrongdoing.

He was asked that tell us about the PM Modi unscheduled meeting with PM Renzi at the United Nations and did that meeting take place and what proof do he have?

I was in negotiation with FinmeccanicaAgusta Westland last year, sorting out issues that were in no way related to the VVIP chopper deal. Things like storage of equipment they owed me money for. I took them to court, and we settled the first amount I was claiming. We were in the process of settling the second amount, when suddenly their lawyers said, we’ve agreed to the figure, but we are pulling out. They were not going to talk anymore to me. That was August-September 2015. We were all surprised. So I asked my legal team to find out and they said, there was some meeting in New York. So then I set everyone I know on to finding out what happened in New York, and I was told by three separate sources that there was a brush-by meeting between the Indian and Italian PMs at the UN, that of course the most important issue came up, that of the Italian marines case, and help was offered by the Indian Prime Minister to settle that case, if some evidence was found implicating the Gandhis in the VVIP deal. And it seemed to have been made clear that I was accused of being a conduit. I felt this was going too far and the question of whether that meeting took place is easily answered. Not only did it take place, it went on so long, they had to reschedule other meetings. The mistake was made during the rescheduling as diplomats explained that because the meeting with the Italian PM had gone on so long, they had to change the timings. And if there was a meeting, it was clear what would be discussed, he said.

Finally he asked that did the prosecutor prompt you that they wanted you to give information on the Gandhis?

He said, No. The Italian prosecutor was totally focused on how I could incriminate the Northern League. That’s where the trouble starts. What could have been a simple case of proving whether bribes had been paid or not has turned into the political opportunity. In Italy, they are all jumping about the Northern League, they have no interest in India.

Wefornews Bureau

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