In what clearly exposes how the Congress abused its political power and influence, it has come to light that in a letter written in 2009, Christian Michel, one of the main accused and the middleman in the AgustaWestland scam, had said that pressure had been put on the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through the Congress party elites. This directly implies that some of the Congress heavyweights could have been exercising an extraordinary influence upon the government and its decision-making process. The letter addressed to Giuseppe Orsi, former chief of Finmeccanica (now Leonardo), the parent company of AgustaWestland was written by Christian Michel on August 28, 2009.
The letter, which has been accessed by India Today TV, reveals that Michel had direct access to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). It is shocking to note that Michel had access to details of the then PM Manmohan Singh’s meetings with respect to the concerned deal and his plan, senior ministers, bureaucrats, and the defence ministry. It clearly shows the kind of influence that the Congress party “elites” exercised over the government of the day. The letter also hints that Michel had access to information at top levels. And had knowledge of what was transpiring at the top levels of the government, the PMO, the defence ministry and bureaucrats months in advance.
It also appears that Michel had knowledge of the details of a meeting between the prime minister at that time, Manmohan Singh and the then US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. Michel wrote in the letter, “on the 19th of July to the 23rd Hillary Clinton visited India. She had a number of meetings with the Prime Minister. At one of these meetings she raised a point that was not on the agenda. (Why is India buying the 101. The US has cancelled it because it is extravagant. How can India do it?”
Christian Michel also describes a particular event in the event as a “nightmare”. In the letter, he said, “we had fixed the CCS for 30th July.” He further wrote, “we and the team (user, bureaucrat, and key political elements) expected it to clear without a problem; at the meeting the PM suddenly states that this is okay but first can all the ministers present who may have questions, please raise them to the Defence Ministry and they will be answered before the file comes back to the CCS again.” Michel added, “this statement threw us to the wolves. Every minister, every lobby group, Russian/American/French had questions. The Finance Minister saw his chance to flex his muscles and take on the defence minister where there is a power struggle…However, the PM could tell the US ambassador that the file was not cleared on the 30th and the Ambassador could tell Hillary that he is looking into the matter.” The AgustaWestland scam accused further added that many questions started coming from the ministers present in the first week of August and that “our project was on the edge of a cliff.”
At this point in the letter, Christian Michel talks about “pressurizing the PM” through the Congress elite. He wrote, “we have spent the whole of August regrouping, realigning and preparing our strategy for resubmission to the CCS.” Michel added, “our CCS note is huge. The new Defence Secretary has got a brain. The J.S has learnt his lesson. The National Security Advisor saw the PM at 4 yesterday. We have pressurized the PM through his party elite.”
It is important to note here that in the diary notes maintained by the middleman, he mentioned 15 to 16 million euros for a “family” and another three million for initials “AP”. He did not elucidate about the identity of the family or AP. Whether it referred to Ahmed Patel remains unclear. However, Times Now has claimed that sources in the Central Bureau of Investigation, that are investigating the case, told that Michel has confessed to CBI officers that ‘AP’ stands for senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the then-political secretary of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and ‘Fam’ stands for the Gandhi family. If this is true, it directly hints at the involvement of these party “elites” in pressuring the then prime minister in connection with the chopper scam.
These are allegations of a very serious nature which suggest that the Congress had compromised even the prime minister’s position while exercising executive and political power. It goes on to show the kind of damage that had been inflicted in the system out of clear meddling at the topmost levels.