Middleman Michel claims he never met Sonia, Manmohan

Middleman Michel claims he never met Sonia, Manmohan

Christian Michel, one of the “middlemen” in the AgustaWestland scam, has said that he never met Congress president Sonia Gandhi or the then prime minister Manmohan Singh seeking their help in the deal.

He also said the Narendra Modi government has not interfered in the deal. Asked about him meeting politicians for pushing the deal, Michel told India Today TV in Abu Dhabi: “No, never. I have never met Sonia Gandhi. Never met Manmohan Singh or (then defence minister) A K Antony. Congress never interfered in Agusta deal. I avoid meeting leaders, my expertise is implementation.”

He said to say that people like A B Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh or Antony is involved is “ridiculous” and “no one would believe that”.
Michel, Indian investigators claim, was one of the middlemen who lobbied for the deal in New Delhi and through him the bribes were paid. Fearing arrest, he has refused to come to India to face the agencies, while offering to appear via video link from the Indian embassy in Dubai.

Asked about former Air Chief S P Tyagi, who is facing investigation in the deal, Michel said he probably met him in Gymkhana Club in New Delhi. “Met Tyagi and others and I wasn’t keen on them. I was introduced to Julie Tyagi (former Air chief’s cousin) as a powerful industrialist. Julie is a very nice man. He didn’t promise me of any deal. I was very nervous of them.”

“But because of his association with (businessman) Guido Haschke I really avoided him,” he said. Speaking about nominated MP Subramanian Swamy who has raised the issue, Michel said Swamy has authenticated documents which were given in the CAG report.

He said CAG report was prepared in great hurry and the auditors are not aviation experts but bureaucrats asked to put together document way beyond their expertise. “So he was misled by his own documentation,” he said.

Swamy later said: “Christian Michel is a Red Corner Interpol Noticee. The ED has asked for his extradition. And now TV channels are celebrating him.”

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