Ex­tra­di­tion sparks po­lit­i­cal slugfest


ADAY after the rul­ing BJP termed the ex­tra­di­tion of Chris­tian Michel, the al­leged mid­dle­man in the Agusta West­land chop­per deal case, a diplo­matic vic­tory for In­dia and pointed out that it could spell “se­ri­ous trou­ble” for Congress’ “first fam­ily”, re­fer­ring to Gand­his, the Congress on Wed­nes­day al­leged that the BJP and prime min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi were “latch­ing” on to Michel for a “smear cam­paign” against op­po­si­tion lead­ers.

How­ever, the al­le­ga­tion was re­jected by BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah who chal­lenged the Congress to spell out its stand on the ex­tra­di­tion of Michel. “I want to know whether any mid­dle­man should be ar­rested or not? What does the op­po­si­tion want? Does it want to save them,” Shah told a press con­fer­ence in Jaipur.

Modi also brought up Michel’s ex­tra­di­tion at his rally in Pali in Ra­jasthan on the last day of cam­paign­ing for the state As­sem­bly polls on Fri­day. “The gov­ern­ment has brought the mid­dle­man in­volved in a he­li­copter scam from Dubai. He served politi­cians and will now dis­close se­crets,” the prime min­is­ter said. “Let’s see how far this goes.”

Asked about Michel’s ex­tra­di­tion ear­lier at a news con­fer­ence in Hy­der­abad, Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi as­serted his party has made its po­si­tion “very very clear” in this mat­ter and raised the al­leged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the Rafale jet deal with France. Gandhi said that the prime min­is­ter should ex­plain the al­leged pay­ment of Rs 30,000 crore to in­dus­tri­al­ist Anil Am­bani in the deal. The Anil Am­bani-headed Re­liance Group has de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

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