IANS /New Delhi
The BJP yesterday accused the Congress of defending British national Christian Michel in a Central Bureau of Investigation court in the Rs36bn AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case and described removal of his counsel Aljo K Joseph from the party as “drama”.
“Besides Joseph, there are two other lawyers of Christian Michel. They are Vishnu Shankar who is the son of a Kerala Congress leader and Sriram Parakkat who has been an NSUI member. All three have worked under big Congress lawyers like Salman Khurshid and Kapil Sibal,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra told a press conference. He claimed the Congress was completely “rattled” after the extradition of Michel and have sent their team to defend Michel in court.
“The extended hand of the Congress is protecting Michel. This is not a self-goal but a calculated move by the Congress to protect Michel,” he said.
Calling the removal of Joseph from the party as a “drama”, Patra claimed the top Congress leaders were having sleepless nights after Michel was extradited from Dubai.
“The Congress went to the extent of removing Joseph from the party. This is the real face of the Congress. While there is a family within the Congress which is having sleepless nights, the same family has appointed its own pointsman to defend Michel,” he said.
He said the Congress has resorted to such “dramas” in the past by removing Mani Shankar Aiyer and Sandeep Dixit.
The Congress expelled Joseph on Wednesday after a controversy erupted over his representation in the AgustaWestland chopper deal case.
“Later they were promoted to senior posts in the party. Sibal appeared in the temple case and withdrew from it after a controversy. In the Kerala lottery case, Abhishek Manu Singhvi earlier appeared and later withdrew himself. But in the case of Joseph, they did not ask him to withdraw from the case. Instead, they removed him from the party which is nothing less than a drama,” he said.
Shortly after Patra’s accusations, 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 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.
Shergill ridiculed the BJP for trying to establish Congress’ links with Agusta through Joseph.
“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.
“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.
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