Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday exposed the claims made by his own supporters and pro-BJP media on Christian Michel that the AgustaWestland middleman had allegedly named ‘Mrs Gandhi’ during his interrogation.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Modi also denied the Congress allegations that the ED had tunred into Embarrassment Directorate because of its abuse by the BJP to settle political scores. He said, “I get accused of not taking enough actions against the corrupt opposition leaders. And they (opposition leaders) say it’s a political vendetta. The ED is doing its job professionally. It should be a matter of pride if we bring a raazdaar (confidante) to India. It’s a matter of concern when a Congress worker comes to defend him (Michel) as his lawyer.”
He was then asked about the ED’s recent deposition in the court that Michel had named ‘Mrs Gandhi’ during his interrogation. Modi replied, “I only have media reports. I don’t have any other knowledge (to confirm ED claims).”
No sooner the information on the ED claims was out, known supporters of the BJP in the media had taken to Twitter to conclude that by ‘Mrs Gandhi,’ Michel was referring to the personal involvement of Sonia Gandhi. Abhijeet Majumder, the editor of Mynation website, had tweeted, “BIG NEWSBREAK ON @MyNation: Agusta-Westland middleman Christian Michel has taken Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s name during interrogation, Enforcement Directorate (ED) tells Patiala House Court.”
Majumder of Mynation, a venture of BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrsekhar, was quickly corrected by his former India Today colleague, Tanushree Pandey, who was present in the courtroom. “Sir, as you tweet this, I’m sitting inside the courtroom wondering when did this happen? ED Counsel very clearly said Christian Michel made a reference of “Mrs Gandhi” during interrogation. Whether Sonia or someone else is yet to be disclosed,” she had replied.
This despite the fact that the ED itself had told the court that it needed to go through the documents and grill Michel further to conclusively establish the meanings of Mrs Gandhi and son of an Italian lady.
Questions may arise as to how Modi’s supporters could conclude that Mrs Gandhi in this context was Sonia Gandhi, when the country’s prime minister himself has confessed to having no knowledge about the much-publicised claims.
Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3600 crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal, was brought to India from Dubai earlier this month. Since then, he’s been under the custody of the Indian agencies.