Modi is in a tight spot, says Agusta middleman

Modi is in a tight spot, says Agusta middleman

Michel had claimed that PM met Renzi in New York

Modi is in a tight spot, says Agusta middleman

The middleman in the AgustaWestland deal, Christian Michel, has claimed that Italy may release details of a private conversation on the issue between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Matteo Renzi if India does not release marines.

Michel had earlier claimed that Modi met Renzi on the sidelines of a UN conference in New York and offered to release two Italian marines facing trial in India on murder charges if the Italian leader could provide information about the chopper deal that could embarrass or implicate Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

Both governments had denied any such meeting or conversation. According to NDTV, Michel has suggested that the Italian government “may do something unpleasant” if a marine charged with murder is not released by India.

The “unpleasant” move would be to “admit to a meeting” between Modi and Renzi, the NDTV quoted him as saying.

Though both governments denied the meeting, Michel had repeatedly insisted that the meeting did happen in more than one interview. Michel said he was talking about a brush-by meeting, which could be denied.

Michel said the Italian embassy in New Delhi briefed Agusta’s parent company Finmeccanica about the meeting. It was Finmeccanica which informed him, he said, refusing to identify the embassy official.

“The honourable prime minister (Modi) is in a horrible position. If he lets the marine go, he will be accused of a deal. If he doesn’t let him go, the Italians may do something unpleasant - admit to a meeting,” Michel said.

The scandal over “kickbacks” paid by Agusta middlemen in India resurfaced after a court verdict in Milan last month.

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