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

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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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Sonia terms Modi speech as old rhetoric, Rahul says it was weak

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New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi described Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech during no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha as an “old rhetoric” and Congress President Rahul Gandhi said it was “weak”.

The Congress party termed his speech as “dramebaazi” (theatrics).

The Modi government on Friday passed the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition with an overwhelming majority, with the government getting 325 out of a total 451 votes.

Only 126 MPs voted in favour of the motion.

Soon after the government won the no-confidence motion, Modi said that the NDA has the confidence of 125 crore people.

“NDA has the confidence of the Lok Sabha and the 125 crore people of India. I thank all the parties that supported us in the vote. Our efforts to transform India and fulfil the dreams of our youth will continue. Jai Hind!,” he said in a tweet.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said: “We posed questions to Prime Minister Modi on Rafael deal, Nirav Modi but he didn’t answer any.

“His speech was ‘dramebaazi’ (theatrics). He didn’t say anything for people of Andhra Pradesh. He was saying what previous governments had done and not what his government has done in four years,” he said.

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Peace in Kashmir impossible without Pakistan: Farooq Abdullah

You may not like what I am going to say. We will not have peace in Jammu and Kashmir unless we strike a deal with Pakistan,”

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Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi, July 20 : Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Friday said peace in Jammu and Kashmir was impossible without involving Pakistan, asking the BJP government to give up its rigid stance and be flexible in solving problems in the terror-ravaged state.

“You may not like what I am going to say. We will not have peace in Jammu and Kashmir unless we strike a deal with Pakistan,” Abdullah said in his speech during the no confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.

He said he had high hopes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would build peace with Pakistan that Atal Bihari Vajpayee could not do.

“North Korea, which was making nuclear missiles, atom bombs, has made peace with US President Donald Trump. Trump and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin are meeting each other to find peace. But we have failed to do the same for Jammu and Kashmir.”

In his short but fiery speech, the National Conference leader said the anti-Muslim rhetoric building up in the country needed to stop because it was dangerous.

“We won’t be defeated by America, Russia or any other nation. We will defeat ourselves. We will not be successful unless the Hindus and Muslims unite.”

Pointing his finger towards the ruling bench, Abdullah asked the BJP to take note of the fact that “Muslims are as Indians as you are”.

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No-confidence motion against Modi government defeated

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New Delhi, July 20 : The no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government was defeated in the Lok Sabha on Friday after a 12-hour heated debate which saw the government and opposition trade charges and a moment of drama when Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, after a blistering speech, walked over to hug the Prime Minister.

 

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