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BJP, Congress trade charges over lawyers representing Michel

December 06, 2018 20:59 IST

IMAGE: Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the multi-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, being produced at a CBI court in Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, on Wednesday. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo

The Congress on Thursday said the Bharatiya Janata Party linking it with Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, on the basis of an 'expelled lawyer' is a case of the 'pot calling the kettle black'.

Many top leaders of the ruling party have represented 'fraudsters' in the past, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said at a press conference.

Shergill's remarks were in response to BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra's comments that all three lawyers, including Youth Congress functionary Aijo K Joseph, who appeared for Michel in a court had links with the Congress.

Patra said the extradition of Michel has rattled the Congress and the opposition party's 'extended hand' is defending the alleged middleman to protect 'the family' from the fallout of the investigation.


On Wednesday, the Congress expelled Youth Congress leader and lawyer Aljo K Joseph from the party after he appeared in court for Michel, who was extradited from Dubai on Tuesday for allegedly being the middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal.

Shergill alleged that the BJP is a 'one stop shop which provides full service to fraudsters and scamsters by acting as their advisors, lawyers, boarding pass agents, ticket agents, establishing in London agents and police protection agents'.

"The BJP linking the Congress party with AgustaWestland on the basis of an expelled Congress lawyer is a classic case of pot calling the kettle black," he said.

According to Shergill, if the BJP was linking the Congress with Michel on the basis of a lawyer, they should answer on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's family members taking fees from fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad representing Subrata Roy and Vasundhara Raje giving an affidavit in favour of Lalit Modi in London.

He also said the BJP must give an answer on Jaitley representing stock broker Ketan Parekh.

Earlier in the day, Patra, to a question about lawyer kin of some top BJP leaders appearing for those accused of corruption, said they did not only recuse themselves but also returned the fee paid to them.

It showed the clean conscience of BJP leaders while the Congress is 'married to corruption', he said.

He also dismissed the party's decision to expel Joseph as a charade and drama.

Patra said the Congress may have expelled him but he remains a lawyer for the accused as '10 Janpath', the residence of United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, wants its own people to be in touch with Michel.

Besides Joseph, one of the lawyers defending Michel is a member of the Congress' youth wing while the father of another is a party member, Patra claimed at a press conference.

"Isn't this too much of an coincidence? Isn't the extended hand of the Congress was working to protect the family?" he asked, adding that it is a clever move by the party to ensure that Michel is protected.

He said the Congress had earlier also acted against its leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar and Sandeep Dikshit but 'promoted' them later.

The Congress suspended Aiyar in December last year for his "neech" jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The suspension was revoked in August this year.

It has, however, never taken any disciplinary action against Dikshit and Patra did not specify what he was referring to.

British businessman Michel was sent to CBI custody for five days by a Delhi court on Wednesday.

The CBI's plea for custody was opposed by Michel's counsel -- Joseph and Vishnu Shankaran -- who said they have not yet received any documents from the agency and the accused may be remanded to judicial custody.

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