New Delhi, April 5: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a supplementary chargesheet against British national Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case. In its chargesheet, the ED said that Christian Michel revealed various abbreviations mentioned in a “budget sheet”, according to which "AP means senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel" and "Fam means Family".
The ED, which said that “kickbacks were paid to defence officials, bureaucrats, media persons and important political persons of the ruling party”, also said that Christian Michel had mentioned one "Mrs Gandhi". However, it was not clear who "Mrs Gandhi" is. According to the chargesheet, payments were routed through a “complex structure” and withdrawn in cash through “hawala”. AgustaWestland Case: Delhi Court Seeks Detailed Reply from Tihar Jail Authorities over Christian Michel's Plea.
The ED listed a series of “dispatches” between February 2008 and October 2009 by Michel, including one that mentioned "Meeting at the beginning of the week with regards to the Italian Lady’s son… The gentleman confirmed that the son will be next Prime Minister and his power in the party is growing day by day. Hence, the Finance Minister’s extreme anxiety at the son’s phenomenal rise". AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper Case: Delhi Court Dismisses Christian Michel’s Bail Plea in Rs 3,600 Crore.
One “dispatch” referred to a “procurement paper” being sent to “all five cabinet members — home ministry, finance ministry, foreign ministry, defence ministry, P.M. and the party leader” and that “none of them have had any problems but for Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee”, The Indian Express reported. The ED also named Michel's partner David Syms and his company Global Services Ltd and Global Trading Ltd as accused in the case.
Michel had used the companies as a conduit for receiving money. The ED said that the bribe from Augusta Westland was routed through Global Services and Global Trading. The agency said that further investigation was going on over the role of politicians and bureaucrats involved in the case. Michel was extradited to India on December 4, 2018, from the United Arab Emirates.
Congress Calls References 'Election Stunt' by Government:
Reacting to the references, the Congress party called them a "cheap election stunt". "A single uncertified page leaked by ED of a purported chargesheet is a cheap election stunt to divert attention from imminent defeat of the Modi government. ED has become ‘Election Dhakosla’ of a government manufacturing a lie a day," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
“All these rehashed insinuations and lies were bundled out earlier too through a set of pliable media. Ultimately, they failed in an international court and were rejected as trash. Come election season and a panic-stricken Modi government is using the same set of lies to reset a narrative that they have already lost. We reject this rubbish being served as a diversionary political agenda by the Modi government, who has already lost the plot of 2019 elections,” Surjewala added.