Within days of the ED admitting middleman Christian Michel‘s involvement in various defence deals, documents have now revealed that Christian Michel had allegedly lobbied on behalf of Eurofighter to influence the Rafale deal, reported India Today.
According to India Today, Christian Michel with another middleman Guido Haschke had worked on a plan to lobby for Eurofighter against Rafale in order to win the deal in its favour. A “strategy paper” which has been seized during the raids has revealed that Christian Michel and Guido Haschke had planned to make Eurofighter secure the deal against the French Rafale in the MMRCA competition.
Reportedly, the strategy paper, which was prepared in 2008, mentions the need for engaging “in an in-country bureaucratical and political navigator” to make Eurofighter win the bid. The document allegedly prepared with consultation from Christian Michel and Guido Haschke further discloses that there were only three candidates for lobbying and only one of the three was available for the job, without naming any one of them.
“This man should have worked in the MOD and know well on first name basis and not just the MOD, key bureaucrats and the minister but also the PM, Finance Minister and the Leading Family,” the document further reads.
The strategy paper also talks about not only lobbying the politicians but also regarding lobbying three Air Force officials. “The 3 bosses of maintenance must be lobbed i.e. Chief of Maintenance Command, Air Officer Maintenance and Chief of Engineering,” the document further noted.
Christian Michel is accused of money laundering, bribery, and fraud in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore worth AgustaWestland scam. This disclosure of Michel’s involvement in promoting Eurofighter to scuttle the bid for Rafale raises suspicion regarding the involvement of various other parties including the opposition in the matter of India’s national security.
Congress party President Rahul Gandhi has been fighting hard against the Rafale. As names of various senior leaders have been doing rounds for their alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland helicopter scam, this revelation has further strengthened the speculation that external forces may have allegedly joined hands with the Congress party to terminate the Rafale deal in favour of other fighter aircraft.
Interestingly, Eurofighter is designed by a consortium of multinational defence companies from UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. Italian firm Finmeccanica which makes AgustaWestland choppers owns 21 per cent shares in the Eurofighter consortium.
Eurofighter Typhoon was one of the two fighter aircraft which had qualified for the final round of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition along with the Dassault Rafale. Rafale was finally chosen over Eurofighter after a complex evaluation and testing procedure of the Air Force.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday during a discussion on the Rafale jet deal had taken a jibe by taking the reference of Eurofighters against the Congress party after they were found throwing paper planes in the House. “I think these planes are being flown in the memory of Eurofighters,” said Jaitley.
Aided by Congress friendly media, Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the Narendra Modi government on the issue of Rafale deal by citing false facts. Despite the fact that the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had presented every fact in the house, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had indulged in fake narratives against the Rafale deal.
Christian Michel is currently in custody and is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his role in the AgustaWestland chopper deal case. The ED had dropped several bombshells in the Court and had even asserted that Michel had mentioned a certain “Mrs Gandhi” during interrogation. Officials also verbally mentioned that Michel has also named “Italian lady’s son R who might become PM’.