Jaipur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched an all-out offensive against the Congress and the Gandhi family, targeting them over the extradition of Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman in politically-sensitive Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal.
“I had mentioned the VVIP helicopter case, I spoke about it, about the letter written by Sonia Gandhi. After BJP came to power, we looked for the files, we dug around. They had hidden it away. But one middleman finally was caught after years of digging and findings. Let’s see how far this goes,” said PM Modi while addressing an election rally in Rajasthan’s Sumerpur.
“Helicopter kaand ke raazdar aur dalal ko sarkar Dubai se pakad ke layi hai. Ab raazdar raaz kholega, pata nahi baat kahan tak jayegi, kitni duur tak jayegi (Government brought middleman involved in helicopter scam from Dubai, he served politicians and will now disclose secrets, don’t know to what extent this will go),” he said.
James was brought to India late Tuesday night following his extradition by the UAE. The UAE government had cleared the extradition of 57-year-old Michel after his appeal against the move was turned down by a Delhi court.
The ruling BJP on Tuesday said the extradition in the case from the UPA era is a diplomatic victory for India and could spell “serious trouble” for the Congress’s “first family”, referring to Gandhis.
Michel was allegedly paid 42 million Euro (approx. Rs 295 crore) bribe by AgustaWestland to pay off Indian politicians, bureaucrats and defence ministry officials to swing the Rs 3,700-crore deal for 12 VVIP choppers in favour of AgustaWestland.
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The prime minister also targeted Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi over the Supreme Court’s Tuesday directive allowing the Income Tax Department to allow their tax reassessment for 2011-12 in connection with the National Herald case.
“Government won in Supreme Court yesterday, look at courage of ‘chai wala’ who took those running country for four generations to court’s doors,” said PM Modi.
He further accused the then UPA government of snatching the lands from farmers in the state and giving them at throwaway prices to Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.
“Naamdars (Gandhi’s) gave away the land taken from farmers to their relative (Robert Vadra) at peanut’s price. He earned 7 fold profit out of it without even investing a single penny. Shouldn’t they be punished? If BJP comes to power in Rajasthan, they will surely go into jail,” he said.
Accusing the Congress of spreading “venom of casteism” and creating urban-rural divide, the prime minister further exuded confidence that the BJP will once again form government in the state.
“They have already started making excuses, they are trying to find any possible logic so the responsibility of defeat does not lie on naamdar’s shoulders,” he said.
“Congress which created so many divisions in society in the last 70 years, how can they work in the interest of the people? First, give an account of these 70 years, then ask about 4.5 years from us,” he added.
“Congress’ ‘gaaje-baaje’ company thought BJP finished in Rajasthan, now saying they are losing due to infighting and rebel candidates,” the prime minister said.
Taking a jibe at Rahul Gandhi, he said, “Congress President does not even know the names of his own party leaders. He did not even know the name of a very popular farmer and jat leader in Congress, late Kumbharam ji. He called him ‘Kumbhakaran’. You can imagine what such people will do when in power”.