Cong , BJP trade charges over lawyers representing Michel
New Delhi: Retaliating to the BJP's allegations of "links with AgustaWestland middleman James Christian Michel", the Congress on Thursday raked up Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's daughter's law firm being engaged by fraudster Mehul Choksi and alleged a "BJP-Agusta nexus" claiming it promoted the controversial Italian defence company.
Shortly after BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra accused the Congress of trying to save Michel by providing "three Congress lawyers", Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill hit back citing instances of Jaitley providing legal services to scamster Ketan Parekh and his daughter's law firm being engaged by now absconding Choksi, a prime accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.
Questioning the Modi government's intention behind allowing "blacklisted AgustaWestland to be part of Make in India and bid for 100 Naval Utility Helicopters, the Congress questioned why the Modi government did not appeal against Italian courts acquitting two prime accused in the bribery scandal.
"Will the CBI probe the BJP-Agusta nexus of quid pro quo, of accommodating and welcoming AgustaWestland in India and aggressively promoting a blacklisted company? The CBI will never investigate this angle because it is a remote-controlled hawk of the Modi government," Shergill told the media here.
The Congress leader ridiculed the BJP for trying to establish Congress' links with Agusta through the now expelled youth Congress leader and advocate Aljo K. Joseph who represented Michel in a Delhi court after he was extradited to India on Tuesday night from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"The BJP bid to link Congress with Agusta on the basis of an expelled advocate (Joseph) is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. In that case, we would like to know why Arun Jaitley's daughter's law firm took money from Choksi to defend him," he said.
"Will the BJP answer as to why (Rajasthan Chief Minister) Vasundhara Raje helped former cricket administrator Lalit Modi or explain why (Union Minister) Ravi Shankar Prasad was an advocate of Sahara chief Subroto Roy," asked Shergill.
Citing Jaitley as an advocate "representing stock broker Ketan Parekh and giving legal advice to Dow Chemicals", Shergill said: "If Congress is linked to Agusta, then BJP is linked to Parekh, Choksi and the Bhopal gas tragedy."
The Congress leader also questioned the Centre's move to not appeal against two Italian courts earlier in the year acquitting two prime accused – Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini – in the VVIP chopper deal case.
"The BJP is a one-stop shop which provides services to scamsters and fraudsters by acting as their advisors, lawyers, boarding pass agents and police protection agents," added Shergill.
Earlier, Patra, without taking names, targeted Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi saying the "Congress family was rattled and spending sleepless nights after Michel's extradition".
Patra claimed that the Congress in its bid to save Michel has deputed three advocates, Joseph, Vishnu Shankar, son of a Kerala Congress leader, and Sriram Parakkat, who was earlier associated with the Congress student wing.