Modi did not meet Italian PM at UN: Government

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New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) There was no meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi during the UN General Assembly session last year, the external affairs ministry said on Wednesday.

“There was no meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Renzi of Italy as part of PM’s bilateral meetings at the UNGA in September 2015,” ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said.

Swarup’s response came after James Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, told The Hindu newspaper that Modi and Renzi had a brush-by meeting during which India offered to help settle the Italian marines’ case in return for some evidence to implicate the Congress’s Gandhi family in the chopper deal.

Michel said that “it seemed to have been made clear” that he was accused of being a conduit.

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In his statement on Wednesday, Swarup said that as far as Michel was concerned, various law enforcement authorities of India were proceeding against him in cases relating to the Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

“An open ended non-bailable arrest warrant has been issued by the special judge of the CBI against him on September 24, 2015,” the spokesperson said.

“Upon a CBI request, a Red Corner notice against him has been issued by the Interpol Headquarters on 25.11.2015. A request for provisional arrest for the purpose of extradition was made to the UK authorities on January 4, 2016 by the CBI.”

Swarup also said that the Enforcement Directorate, another autonomous agency to handle private money laundering and foreign exchange irregularities, has also separately sent a Red Corner notice seeking the arrest and a request for Michel’s extradition from Britain on February 29, 2016.

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