The cat is finally out of the bag; Ahmed Patel of the Congress is the mysterious AP in the Christen Michel diaries. Did Patel share his slush money with his masters?
AgustaWestland Case Timeline
Actually, it was an open secret that AP and the Congress strongman were the same guys. What was needed was a confirmation from Michel himself. And the arms dealer took a couple of months finally to spill the beans.
For folks who don’t know the background of this article, here are a few points:
- The UPA government wants to buy new helicopters to ferry top politicians and bureaucrats as the existing ones are not up to the mark.
- It floats a contract and invites several players to bid for the project.
- Agusta Westland, a UK based aviation company throws its hat in the ring and is later awarded the contract.
- Later, it is revealed that Christian Michel, a British businessman, had oiled the palms of several top Indian bureaucrats, military officials, and politicians to swing the deal in Westland’s favor. He is arrested in Dubai and later sent to India for questioning.
- As part of the investigations, the India police arrested former Air Chief of the Indian Air Force, SP Tyagi, and his brother.
- There is a diary in Michel’s possession that lists the initials of some really very powerful people in connection with the scam. It is assumed that AP, SG, RG and Mrs. Gandhi (names and initials mentioned in the diary) refer to members of one of the top political parties of India. These are the people who benefitted from the deal, according to the Indian investigation agencies.
- Finally, Michel, after long interrogations, admits that AP is none other than Ahmed Patel, one- time political adviser to Sonia Gandhi, the Chairperson of the UPA.
The total value of the AgustaWestland helicopter deal was Rs. 3,600 crores. One of the Indian investigation agencies, the Enforcement Directorate, estimates that in the AgustaWestland scam, approximately 10% of the deal value was passed along as kickbacks.
The meaning of being Ahmed Patel
That AP is Ahmed Patel is an explosive revelation. It would not have mattered much if this discovery was made 2 or 3 months ago. But we are sitting right at the beginning of the elections, and this charge is surely going to hit Sonia Gandhi and Congress big time.
Ahmed Patel was a very important guy in the party during the UPA years and he had had the ears of Sonia. Patel decided who was to get what post in the party; perhaps he was also a kingmaker in the government.
So, the next obvious question is; did Patel really get the kickbacks? And if he did, what was the role of Sonia and Rahul in this deal?
Is Congress the real chor?
Expect the BJP to raise a lot of shor-sharaaba in the next few days on this disclosure. I would be surprised if they didn’t. Over the past 3-4 months, Rahul Gandhi has been directly accusing Narendra Modi of helping Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal. Gandhi continued going around the country saying, ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’, ‘chowkidar’ here referring to Modi.
Narendra Modi hasn’t retaliated to Gandhi’s charge but has let the Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate Authorities check Gandhi’s role in various suspicious transactions. Just a few days back, a section of the media reported Rahul Gandhi’s deals with a scammer, Sanjay Chandra and another fraudster, Jignesh Shah of NSEL. Chandra has served several months of jail time after being convicted in a scam.
Top Journalists buried the stories?
The role of sections of Indian media has also come up for scrutiny during these investigations of AgustaWestland case. According to information available on Twitter, a couple of Indian journalists ( we aren’t taking any names here), diluted their stories on AgustaWestland.
We don’t know why, but the same Twitter ‘facts’ claim that these journos were paid kickbacks by Michel to pipe down. If that is true, then the credibility of Indian media goes down even further.