Mumbai, Jan 10 (PTI) The Congress Thursday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “Michel mama” barb, claiming “Modi mama” and the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal were “business rivals”.
Speaking to reporters here, former Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Modi had launched “Prime Minister’s loot the country and run away” scheme for businessmen like Vijay Mallya.
Reacting to Shinde’s allegations, Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said it was part of Congress’ strategy of making “baseless allegations”.
British national Christian Michel, alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland deal, was arrested in the UAE last month and extradited to India.
Speaking at a rally in Solapur Wednesday, Modi had cited media reports to allege that Michel was lobbying for rivals of the French firm Dassault which manufactures Rafale, and demanded that Congress explain which of its leaders was connected with “Michel mama”.
Countering the prime minister’s barbs, Shinde alleged that Modi was helping his industrialist friends.
“Modi, who has launched ‘Prime Minister’s Mediation Scheme’ in Rafale and other matters for his industrialist friends, does not want any competitor in the business and hence this outburst,” he said.
“Michel mama and Modi mama are business rivals. Hence Modi is making baseless allegations,” the senior Congress leader said.
Shinde, who hails from Solapur, also said the prime minister made a “poor attempt” to tell the people in the south Maharashtra district that he was doing great work for them by launching several schemes.
“He should have also told people about his ‘Prime Minister’s loot the country and run away scheme’ meant for his industrialist friends such as Nirav Modi, Mehul bhai (Mehul Choksi), Mallya and Lalit Modi,” Shinde said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.