Connect with us


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


Office of profit case: Delhi HC sets aside disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs




New Delhi, March 23: In a massive relief for Arvind Kejriwal government, the Delhi high court on Friday restored membership of 20 disqualified AAP MLAs who were disqualified by the Election commission of India in connection with the office of profit case.

After delivery the judgement, the Court referred the case back to the poll panel citing the disqualification of AAP MLAs was bad in law.

In its verdict, the court said “the violation of oral hearing norms by EC and failure to communicate that  Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat after recusing had rejoined proceedings were the reasons to quash the January 19 order”.

The MLAs who had been engaged in the battle were Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gehlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal Khufiya, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar and Nitin Tyagi.

On January 19, the election commission sent its recommendation to the President for his assent to disqualify 20 Aam Aadmi party MLAs for holding ‘office of profit’.

Following this, President Ram Nath Kovind disqualified 20 AAP MLAs for holding Office of Profit.

The poll panel was referring to the fact the MLAs had been appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in March 2015.

Challenging EC’s recommendation, then AAP MLAs approached the Delhi High Court.


Continue Reading


INX Media case: Delhi High Court grants bail to Karti Chidambaram



New Delhi, March 23: The High Court on Friday granted bail to former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in connection with the INX Media case. 

Earlier, the court had reserved order on the bail plea of Karti Chidambaram on March 16 after hearing arguments from prosecution as well as defence counsel.

Karti Chidambaram’s advocate had told the court that his client has been co-operative during the investigation.

Countering his claim, the Central Bureau of Investigation contended that he did not co-operate and has tried to influence witnesses in the case. However, the probe agency did not reveal the name of witnesses.

The special court March 12 sent Karti Chidambaram to judicial custody till March 24.

Karti Chidambaram was held in February for allegedly taking money to facilitate Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister.


Continue Reading


Anna attacks Modi government on Lokpal, agrarian crisis



Anna Hazare
Anna Hazare begins fast for LokPal

New Delhi, March 23: Launching a fresh anti-corruption agitation with an indefinite fast here on Friday, social activist Anna Hazare said his efforts to communicate with the Modi government on issues of Lokpal and agrarian distress had yielded no result.

“I have written 43 letters to the Modi government in the last four years but did not get any reply,” he said soon after he began his hunger strike at the sprawling Ramlila Maidan here after paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

“The farmers in the country are in distress as they are not getting remunerative prices and the government is not acting to ensure fair prices.”

Hazare has been pressing for setting up Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states to probe corruption cases, bring in new electoral reforms and implementation of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee report to address the agrarian crisis in the country.

He said he would hold discussions with the government during the agitation but his indefinite hunger strike, called ‘Satyagraha’, would continue “till the government comes out with a concrete action plan”.

The activist, who held a major agitation in 2011 against corruption catching the imagination of Indians, said Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and some ministers from Maharashtra met him on Thursday and gave certain assurances.

“But I said I don’t trust you. How many promises you have fulfilled so far? Nothing. So come with concrete action plan,” he said in his address to thousands of supporters gathered at the iconic ground in the heart of Delhi.

Hazare said the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), which decides prices for 23 crops, should be made autonomous for fair price fixation.

Currently, the Central government controls CACP and cuts the fair price rates suggested by states by 30-35 per cent, he said.

“I will prefer dying for the nation than by heart attack,” said the 80-year-old activist, whose 2011 agitation gave birth to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) now ruling in Delhi.

The agitation also contributed to the Congress-led UPA losing the 2014 general elections that brought the BJP to power at the Centre.

Last month, Hazare accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not being interested in the appointment of the Lokpal at the Centre.

The veteran activist said Modi was “never serious about Lokpal”.

The reason behind the delay, he said, in the appointment of a Lokpal was because the Prime Minister was afraid that once this became a reality, his office as well as that of his cabinet members would also come under its purview.


Continue Reading

Most Popular