New Delhi: Following the arrest of a middleman involved in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, Congress spokesperson RS Surjewala on Thursday alleged the Modi government of framing UPA chief Sonia Gandhi. According to the middleman's advocate, the Modi govt and its agencies were forcing him to sign false confession naming the veteran Congress leader, Surjewala added.
"Two days ago, Christian Michael was arrested in Dubai for #AgustaWestland case. Now, his advocate Rosemary Patrizi clearly states that Modi govt and its agencies were forcing Christian Michael to sign false confession naming Sonia Gandhi ji," Surjewala told news agency ANI.
Christian Michel James, a middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, was arrested in Dubai on Tuesday. Sources suggest that James was detained on July 12 for questioning. James, who hails from Britain but is currently living in UAE, was reportedly detained by Indian probe agencies.
Notably, the Enforcement Directorate did not name the middleman in the chargesheet it filed on Wednesday in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.
The ED named former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi and 33 others in the chargesheet. While filing the chargesheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the ED informed the magistrate that money was laundered through "multiple foreign companies". The court was told that "foreign companies were used as fronts to park alleged kickbacks".
In 2017, the Patiala House Court in Delhi had issued non bailable warrant against Michel. The ED had then told the court that the middle ran a shell company named Media Exim and had facilitated transactions of kickbacks in the deal using the same.
The Enforcement Directorate found that of the alleged kickbacks received by James, Rs 6.33 crore was routed to India through his shell company Media Exim from his Dubai-based Global Services FZE.
James allegedly received around Rs 225 crore as kickbacks from AgustaWestland for the deal inked for the purchase of 12 helicopters in the guise of transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.