From access to confidential conversation between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to “pressurising” the PM through “his party elite”, Christian Michel claimed access to internal discussions of the UPA Cabinet and Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meetings.
A letter allegedly written by Michel on August 28, 2009 to Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of AgustaWestland reveals stunning pieces of confidential information accessed by the alleged middleman in the VVIP chopper scandal. The letter also mentions a “power struggle” between the then Finance and Defence Ministers.
Michel claimed to know the schedule of a CCS meeting two months in advance. Writing to Orsi (in August), Michel claimed that the project will be cleared in a CCS meeting slated for October 3. And within three working days of that meeting, Michel assured, you will be given a date to come and finalise.
Had access to top internal UPA government meetings, Michel’s letters reveal. @raghavohri0 reports.
— ET Politics (@ETPolitics) December 25, 2018
Referring to one of the meetings (July 19-23, 2009) between the Hillary Clinton and the then PM, Michel wrote Hillary raised a point that “was not in the agenda”. “Why is India buying the 101(make of the helicopter). The US has cancelled it because it was extravagant. How can India do it,” he wrote claiming Hillary conveyed this to Manmohan Singh.
He added: “The PM for an unknown reason desperate to keep good US relations as his legacy and therefore promised to look into the matter”.
Referring to the purported internal discussions which took place on July 30, Michel wrote “We and the team (user, bureaucrat and key political elements) expected it to clear without a problem”, however, he adds much to their “nightmare”, the PM invited questions from all ministers asking them to raise them to the Defence Ministry which will be later routed back to the CCS.
“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 muscles and take on the Defence Minister where there is a power struggle”, Michel wrote. Our project was on the edge of a cliff, he added after questions started pouring in. He added “we spent the whole of August regrouping, realigning and preparing our strategy for resubmission to the CCS. Our CCS note is huge. The new Defence Secretary has got brains… The Joint Secretary learnt his lesson. The National Security Advisor saw the PM at 4 pm yesterday”.
The letter further reads “we have met with finance with the Boss. We have apologised for not keeping him informed and we have pressurised the PM through his party elite”. Calling the Defence Minister “incompetent”, Michel claimed the Defence Minister is “100% behind us”.
He added on August 24, an “excellent CCS note was presented to the Defence Minister which was later circulated to the Council of Ministers. The PM has demonstrated to Hillary that he did intervene, but rule of the government let it go through”.