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Gandhi family is having sleepless nights following Michel's extradition: BJP

Christian Michel James. Photograph:( PTI )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 07, 2018, 09.19 AM (IST)

The extradition of Christian Michel has rattled the Congress, the BJP claimed on Thursday, alleging that the opposition party's "extended hand" is defending the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal to protect "the family" from the fallout of the investigation.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said all three lawyers, including Youth Congress functionary Aijo K Joseph, who appeared for Michel in a court had links with the Congress.

He also dismissed the party's decision to expel Joseph as a charade and drama.

Joseph appeared as Michel's lawyer on Wednesday, prompting the BJP to attack the opposition party which sacked him within hours.

Patra said the Congress may have expelled him but he remains a lawyer for the accused as "10 Janpath", the residence of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, wants its own people to be in touch with Michel.

Besides Joseph, one of the lawyers defending Michel is a member of the Congress' youth wing while the father of another is a party member, Patra claimed at a press conference.

"Isn't this too much of a coincidence? Isn't the extended hand of the Congress was working to protect the family?" he asked, adding that it is a clever move by the party to ensure that Michel is protected.

He said the Congress had earlier also acted against its leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar and Sandeep Dikshit but "promoted" them later.

The Congress suspended Aiyar in December last year for his "neech" jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The suspension was revoked in August this year.

It has, however, never taken any disciplinary action against Dikshit and Patra did not specify what he was referring to. 

The BJP has used the extradition of Michel to India to hit out at the Congress as it has often alleged that some leaders of the opposition party were involved in corruption in the VVIP chopper deal. 

The Gandhi family is having sleepless nights following the extradition, Patra said.

"Entire Congress party is out to defend him (Michel)," Patra told reporters, claiming that the opposition party has sent out the message that it was standing like a rock with the accused.

Patra said Joseph had claimed that he had taken up Michel's case after "somebody" told him so. The BJP leader asked who the "somebody" was and claimed that in the Congress, only two persons are "somebody" and others are nobodies.

To a question about lawyer kin of some top BJP leaders appearing for those accused of corruption, Patra said they did not only recuse themselves but also returned the fee paid to them.

It showed the clean conscience of BJP leaders while the Congress is "married to corruption", he said. 

Michel, the alleged middleman in the politically-sensitive Rs 3,600 crore UPA era deal, was brought to India from Dubai Tuesday night following his extradition.