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BJP seizes on Michel's extradition to target Cong

Press Trust of India  |  Jaipur/New Delhi 

On the last day of campaigning in poll-bound Rajasthan, top BJP leaders, including Narendra Modi, Wednesday seized on the extradition of an alleged middleman in a UPA-era defence deal to corner the Congress, which has made a strong bid to oust the saffron party from power in the state.

The dubbed the claims of Modi and other BJP leaders, including Amit Shah, as a "smear campaign" against its leadership, claiming that they were "latching" on to Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore chopper deal, as the saffron party was staring at defeats in the ongoing state elections.

Michel, a British citizen, was extradited to on Tuesday night and sent to CBI custody for five days by a

At a press conference in Jaipur, Shah asked the to clear its stand on the issue and wondered if the Opposition wanted to save Michel.

Later in the day, Modi raised the issue at his rallies, saying his government had brought Michel to and that the British citizen served politicians and held many secrets.

"When he reveals his secrets, things will go very far," he said, adding that it was a big "scam" of the Congress-led (UPA) era.

At another rally, the reminded the people of his promise that his government will not spare the corrupt as he spoke of Michel's extradition to target the

The opposition party, however, accused Modi and his government of weaving a "web of lies" to hoodwink people as the BJP was facing defeats in the state polls.

"While the BJP and Modi are seeking fake credit without being subjected to investigation by the CBI for their own complicity and connivance, they are latching on to for launching a smear campaign against opposition leaders," Congress's told reporters in

He alleged that the statement of Michel's Anjos after the former's detention in July had "clearly brought out" that the and its agencies were forcing him to sign a false confessional statement, naming Sonia Gandhi, in return for a complete exoneration from any charge whatsoever in the case.

Shah asked the Congress to spell out its stand on Michel's extradition.

"I want to know whether any middleman should be arrested or not? What does the Opposition want? Does it want to save them," he said.

The (BJP) chief was responding to the Opposition's charge that the extradition was a move to divert attention from other issues.

The BJP and the Congress are locked in a fierce poll battle in with the former pulling out all the stops to foil the latter's bid to return to power in the state after a gap of five years.

The 200-member Assembly will go to polls on December 7 and the outcome will be announced on December 11, along with the results of the Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and elections.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 20:20 IST