Sumerpur (Rajasthan): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed confidence that Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal, would “reveal all the secrets” related to the scam. “We don’t know how far this issue will go,” Modi said while addressing a rally here in Pali district of poll-bound Rajasthan, a day after Michel was brought to India following his extradition from Dubai.
Michel, a British national is accused of paying kickbacks to secure the Rs 3600 crore deal for 12 VVIP helicopters in 2007. The deal was scrapped in 2013 following the bribery allegations. He was brought to Delhi late on Tuesday night and a court here on Wednesday remanded him to five-day CBI custody. “Under the regime of United Progressive Alliance (UPA), a VVIP chopper scam took place. After we came to power, an investigation was conducted into it and one person from Dubai was found (allegedly) guilty for his involvement in the case. Now this ‘raazdaar’ (custodian of secrets) will reveal all the secrets,” the Prime Minister said.
During his speech, Modi accused the Congress party of being corrupt while in power in the past. Referring to the ongoing National Herald case involving UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Modi said, “We won in the Supreme Court yesterday. The court said that the Indian government has the right to reassess their (Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s) income tax returns.” BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had filed a case against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others in 2012, accusing them of misusing party funds to buy a firm that published the National Herald newspaper.
In his petition, Swamy alleged a fraud to the tune of Rs. 16 billion by acquiring a public limited company Associated Journals Limited (AJL), through their private company, Young Indian. “No one thought that a chai wala (tea seller) would bring down a party that ruled for four generations. I have taken them to court and they have had to seek bail in cases related to corruption,” the 68-year-old Prime Minister said, in a veiled reference to the Congress party.
Attacking the Congress, he said the party has done very little for the poor and was only concerned about being in power. “I was not born with a silver spoon. I have seen poverty. After coming to power, I believe that there is no reason for India to be poor after so many years. Only one family is the reason for poverty,” Modi contended. “How can the Congress party, which created so many divisions in the society in the last 70 years, work for the interest of the people? First, give an account of these 70 years, then ask us about 4.5 years (of NDA rule),” the Prime Minister said.
He said he was confident that the people of Rajasthan would vote the BJP back to power in the December 7 polling. “Wherever I travelled and met people, I have seen that they have decided to elect a BJP government once again. People of Rajasthan have decided. Now, our work is to win every polling booth. I don’t want to win just Rajasthan, I want to win every polling booth,” Modi said.