Taking a jibe at Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today questioned whether the Rafale deal did not go through during the UPA era because of the dealings with ‘Michel mama’.
PM Modi in Solapur: Kahin Michel Mama ki Saudebazi se hi wo deal ruk to nahin gayi thi? In tamam sawaloon ka jawab agenciyan to doondh hi rhi hain, desh ki janta bhi jawab maang rahi hai https://t.co/QhUY8PPEzc
— ANI (@ANI) January 9, 2019
Prime Minister Modi was referring to AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel who was recently extradited from the UAE. It was recently revealed that Michel had allegedly lobbied on behalf of Eurofighter to influence the Rafale deal.
According to reports, 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.
As per reports, Michel has admitted during interrogation that he did not only lobby on behalf of Agusta but had received money from other defence deals as well. It is alleged that he routed the money through Hawala.
Prime Minister Modi, while addressing the rally in Solapur, Maharashtra, said that the agencies are investigating why the previous deal with Rafale during the UPA tenure did not fall through as people are demanding an answer.
Recently, the Finance Minister had hinted that while the bidding process for the MMRCA was going on during the UPA government, a parallel backroom deal was going on with Eurofighter for probable bribes. Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon had entered the final round of bidding, among the initial 6 contenders, but eventually, Rafale was selected in 2012 on technical parameters.
Earlier also, there were rumours that Rahul Gandhi had met Eurofighter officials during one of his trips to Europe. This was just before Rahul Gandhi started making allegations over the Rafale deal.