A British arms agent who is wanted by Indian investigators for his alleged role in the 2013 helicopter scam, known as 'Choppergate', has alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was ready to cut a deal with the Italian government and "assist in solving the case" against two Italian marines in exchange for information on the Gandhi family's role on the corruption scandal. Christian Michel, 54, has written to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Seas in Hamburg and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague with the allegations, reported The Telegraph.
"I know these are serious allegations, but I stand by them," Michel told the newspaper, even as the Indian ministry of external affairs rubbished the letter's contents and spokesperson Vikas Swarup called it "ridiculous".
The 2013 helicopter scam concerns the purchase of a new fleet of helicopters from manufacturer AgustaWestland by the Indian government, where several senior government officials were allegedly bribed. It has been alleged that several politicians received kickbacks for the deal on the choppers, purchased to carry the highest Indian dignitaries on official visits. Michel is one of the people wanted by Indian investigation agencies in the case. He has now claimed that Modi was willing to help in the case against two Italian marines accused of shooting down two Kerala fishermen in February 2012 if the Italian government provides intel against Sonia Gandhi and her family in the corruption scandal, reported Charu Sudan Kasturi in The Telegraph.
According to the report, Modi allegedly made the offer to the Italian prime minister during a "brush-by" (unplanned, or unofficial) meeting in New York last year during the UN General Assembly in September 2015.
Michel's letter dated 23 December, 2015 says:
"At this meeting, the issue of the two marines was discussed. The Indian PM proposed to the Italian PM that in return for any evidence that the key adviser to Finmeccanica/ AgustaWestland (this is a reference to myself) had any relationship to any member of the Gandhi family, the honourable PM would assist in solving the case against the two Italian marines."
Read the full report on The Telegraph here.
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