PM Offered to Trade Marines for Proof Against Sonia Gandhi: Report

The British arms agent has made the allegations in a letter sent to the international court.

1 min read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: Reuters)

Christian Michel, a British arms agent wanted by Indian investigators in the 2013 AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, has claimed the government offered to free the two Italian marines facing a murder trial in India in exchange for damning information against Sonia Gandhi in the scam.

Michel made the allegations in a letter to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Seas in Hamburg and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague where Italy and India are battling legally over the murder charges against the marines, according to The Telegraph, although the paper could not independently verify Michel’s allegations.

Michel has claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the offer at a secret “brush-by” meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during the UN General Assembly in September 2015 when both leaders were in New York.

When asked, the Indian ministry of external affairs did not deny Michel’s claim of the “brush-by” meeting, citing the presence of “so many world leaders there” to contend that a brief conversation was always possible.

The charges are too ridiculous to comment on.
Vikas Swarup, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson

The Italian marines are accused of shooting two Kerala fishermen dead in February 2012.

AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of the Italian firm Finmeccanica at the time, in 2010 won the contract to supply 12 choppers to India for Rs 3,600 crore, specifically to fly the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister at high altitudes.

In 2013, Italian prosecutors accused Finmeccanica executives of paying bribes to Indian officials, including former air force chief SP Tyagi and his brothers, through Michel and another middleman, Ralph Haschke, to swing the deal.

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