In the AgustaWestland VIP helicopter scam case, alleged middleman Christian Michel had brought up the name of ‘big man R’ in a special court, which extended his remand by seven days in December.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which produced Michel in court, never specified who he had referred to as ‘R’. On 29th December, 2018, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had specifically told Delhi’s Patiala High Court that it needed to decipher reference made by Michel to “big man R”.
However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders could not hold their excitement and were prompt to relate the “R” to Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
Notwithstanding the same, according to a report today by MoneyControl, initial investigation in the case is indicating that the correspondence of the letter ‘R’ alluded to Russia and a Russian Company Rosoboronexport, which was the “front runner” to bag the VVIP chopper deal.
The report suggested that this company had withdrawn from the race by refusing to sign the integrity contract, which had been made mandatory under the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) introduced by the UPA government. After Rosoboronexport dropped out, there were only Sikorsky and AgustaWestland left in the race.
Rosoboronexport is Russia’s state-run intermediary agency for imports and exports of defense-related products, technologies and services. The Probe agencies are now investigating why the UPA government did not take the deal offered by Russia.
How BJP and Prime Minister Modi took potshots at the Congress before any confirmation:
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had claimed that Michel’s reference to ‘big man’, ‘R’ “points to only one family”. Javadekar also said Congress should answer who all Michel was referring to and claimed that people know of one ‘R’, who had torn an ordinance of the Manmohan Singh government, referring to Rahul Gandhi.
PM Modi had also claimed that Michel was close to the Congress. Without taking names, the prime minister said:
“Recently, a defence middleman was caught and brought back to India. But do you know who this middleman is close to? This middleman is close to the current ‘First Family’ of the Congress.”
Economic Times too has reported that the “Big Man R” reference found in despatches allegedly authored by the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, Christian Michel, is likely to be Russia and Rosoboronexport.
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