AgustaWestland Case: ED Files Supplementary Chargesheet Against Christian Michel
The Enforcement Directorate on April 4 filed a supplementary charge sheet against British national Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.
What did the ED say?
The Enforcement Directorate told a Delhi court that kickbacks were paid to a number of people including defence officials, bureaucrats, media persons and top brass of the then ruling party, Congress in the AgustaWestland VVIP scam. NDTV reported that the ED has even said that Christian Michel Jame, the alleged middleman who has been arrested in the case has identified abbreviated initials “AP” as Ahmed Patel.
Reportedly, the ED claims to have found out the “involvement” of several other people linked to the VVIP chopper scandal. The agency has summoned more people for questioning. The ED has alleged that defence agent Sushen Mohan Gupta is “misleading” the agency with regard to abbreviations in documents which were obtained from AugustaWestland accused Rajiv Saxena.
These details are revealed in its fourth supplementary charge sheet filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection to the case. Reportedly, the charge sheet was filed against firms Global Services FZE and Global Traders, and David Sims as well. Sims is the director of the two companies along with Michel.
According to Moneycontrol, the charge sheet said according to the “budget sheet, 30 million euros were paid to Air Force officers, bureaucrats and politicians” in order to swing the deal in the favour of AgustaWestland.
“Christian Michel James has further disclosed various abbreviations used in the budget sheet, which contains the details of the payments made to Air Force officials, bureaucrats and political persons,” said the Enforcement Directorate. In another part of the charge sheet, Michel said, “I cannot say what Haschke was thinking. As a guess, I would think he was talking about Ahmed Patel.” Moreover, he said that “Fam” could mean family.
While the identity of Ahmed Patel is not confirmed yet, it is likely that Michel could refer to senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who has not been named in the FIR. Meanwhile, Patel has denied any wrongdoing in the case.
The ED has said that the kickback amount was paid by an Anglo-Italian firm in the case was “at least about 12 per cent of the contract amount”. It also said that around 70 million euros through the two middlemen who were involved in the case — Michel and Guido Haschke.
Special judge Arvind Kumar said that the court will take cognisance of the charge sheet on April 6. The UPA-II government had signed the Rs 3,565-crore helicopter deal in 2010 with the British-Italian firm AgustaWestland. The deal was put on hold after Italy arrested the head of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland on charges of bribery to win the contract. Michel was extradited to India from the UAE in December of last year.