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ED links Michel to 'Mrs Gandhi' and 'big man R', sparks furore

ED links Michel to Mrs Gandhi and big man R, sparks furore
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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday brought in the name of 'Mrs Gandhi' and 'big man R', an apparent reference to Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case in a special court, where it got a seven-day extension of custody of British national James Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the deal. Citing from a note of Michel, the agency did not specify who the "Mrs Gandhi" or 'big man R' it was referring to.

During arguments, ED counsel L D Singh also referred to Michel saying "big man 'R', son of an Italian lady who is going to be the next Prime Minister in a communication between Michel and AgustaWestland," an apparent reference to Congress President Rahul Gandhi. "We need to decipher the documents to decrypt such codes," the counsel said.

In its remand application, the agency claimed that during interrogation on Thursday, Michel gave his lawyer a "folded paper" which the lawyer hid under his mobile phone. This incident took place when a medical team had come to check Michel's health when his lawyer was also present.

"During the medical examination, Christian Michel stood up and turned towards his advocate Aljo Joseph standing next to him and acted like shaking hands with the advocate and saying him good-bye and extended his hands for handshake. It was noticed that Michel secretly handed over a folded paper to his counsel Joseph. Joseph was carrying his mobile phone under which he hid the folded paper and put it discreetly in pocket of his jacket and acted as if nothing took place," reads the ED remand paper.

Reacting to the ED's explosive claims, the Congress on Saturday accused the Narendra Modi Government of using its agencies to put pressure on alleged middleman Christian Michel, arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, to name a particular family as elections were near and it had no real issues. Congress Spokesperson R P N Singh said, "We have seen what the BJP has been doing in this matter. In fact, one of the television channels showed how there is pressure on Christian to name a particular family."

On the ED's claim that Michel had spoken about the "son of an Italian lady" and how he was going to become the next prime minister of the country, Singh said, "The BJP scriptwriters are working overtime." He alleged that the Modi dispensation was "trying to pressure government agencies to name a person".

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