Modi government forcing AgustaWestland middleman to frame Sonia: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday accused the Modi government of forcing alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper scandal, Christian Michael, to frame UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in return for complete exoneration from any charge.

It also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using investigative agencies to carry out a smear campaign against opposition leaders.

“Never before in the history of India has a Prime Minister been found complicit in gaining false evidence against opposition leaders to seek revenge,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in a statement.

“Stunning revelations have blown the lid off the concerted conspiracy, blind vendetta and web of lies weaved by the ‘Master of Deception’ Narendra Modi against the Congress leadership in Agusta Westland Case,” he added.

A Congress statement said that as Michel was arrested in Dubai two days ago, a statement made by his advocate Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos has now clearly brought out that the Modi government and its agencies were forcing him to sign a false confessional statement naming Sonia Gandhi, while failing to produce any evidence in the courts in Dubai so far.

The party also noted that its UPA government had cancelled the contract for supply of 12 helicopters for a total cost of Rs 3,546 crore in February 2013 and handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, while recovering nearly Rs 3,000 crore by encashing securities/bank guarantees and confiscating three Agusta Westland helicopters.

On the other hand, the Modi government has been protector and benefactor of Agusta Westland/Finmeccanica, by undoing the order black-listing Finmeccanica/Agusta Westland and permitted them to participate in defence contracts as a sub-contractor and defence supplier, said Surjewala.