'British arms agent claims Modi govt offered to trade Italian marines in exchange for proof against Sonia Gandhi'
A British arms agent, wanted in a helicopter scam, has alleged that Narendra Modi government offered Italy the freedom of two marines in exchange for evidence linking Sonia Gandhi to the corruption.
Delhi: A British arms agent, wanted in a helicopter scam, has alleged that Narendra Modi government offered Italy the freedom of two marines in exchange for evidence linking Sonia Gandhi and her family to the corruption.
The above scam had hit headlines in 2013.
As per a report in The Telegraph, Christian Michel, 54, made the allegations in a letter to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Seas in Hamburg and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague.
However, the Daily said that it could not independently verify Michel's allegations.
The Daily also quoted External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup as saying, "The charges are too ridiculous to comment on."
On the other hand Michel told the newspaper from Dubai, "I know these are serious allegations, but I stand by them."
Michel has claimed that Modi made the offer at a secret 'brush-by' meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, as per the report.
This was during the UN General Assembly in September 2015 when both the PMs were in New York.
The MEA did not deny claim of 'brush-by' meeting between PM Modi and Renzi and cited presence of 'so many world leaders there', the report said.
To be noted is the fact that India and Italy have never officially acknowledged such a 'brush-by' meeting between PM Modi and Renzi in United States, the Daily said.
The newspaper also quoted contents of the letter which Michel wrote through his lawyers dated December 23, 2015 as follows - "At this meeting, the issue of the two marines was discussed. The Indian PM proposed to the Italian PM that in return for any evidence that the key adviser to Finmeccanica/ AgustaWestland (this is a reference to myself) had any relationship to any member of the Gandhi family, the honourable PM would assist in solving the case against the two Italian marines."
Michel is wanted by the Enforcement Directorate which has asked the Interpol to look for him.
He had also apparently written to PM Modi in November.
"I think the Prime Minister is inherently a decent man, and I wasn't - and still am not - sure if he understands fully the implications of what he is being advised, which is why I wrote to him," Michel said, as per the Daily.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Tuesday asked PMO to explain the report published by the Kolkata-based Daily.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "PMO needs to answer on this issue," as per The Times of India.
On the other hand Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh posted on micro-blogging website Twitter - "Mr Prime Minister is it a fact?".
Singh posted a picture of the report alongside.
Mr Prime Minister is it a fact ? pic.twitter.com/kyS3bCdazH
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) February 2, 2016