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Christian Michel has named top Congress neta: ED’s Agusta chargesheet

Author: Aamir Khan
Publication: The Times of India
Date: April 5, 2019
URL:      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/michel-has-named-top-congress-neta-eds-agusta-chargesheet/articleshow/68730900.cms

British national Christian Michel, alleged to be a key middleman in the AgustaWestland deal, has disclosed that of various abbreviations mentioned in a “budget sheet” containing details of kickbacks, “AP” is supposed to mean a prominent Congress politician, the Enforcement Directorate’s supplementary chargesheet has said.

In the chargesheet, the fourth in the case, ED said that according to Michel, the entry “fam” meant “family”. These abbreviations relate to the alleged kickbacks of 30 million euros paid to “Air Force officials”, “bureaucrats”, “defence ministry officials” and “top political leaders of the then ruling party”.

The payments were routed through a “complex structure” and withdrawn in cash through “hawala”, according to the chargesheet. The deal has been under the scrutiny of the ED and the CBI, with former IAF chief S P Tyagi being an accused in the case. The agencies are probing the political connections and money laundering aspects of the VVIP chopper contract and Michel was recently extradited to India from Dubai, providing an important break for investigators.

“As per Christian Michel James, ‘AP’ means (the document names a politician) and ‘fam’ means family,” the chargesheet said. Running into 52 pages, along with over 3,000 pages of additional documents, the supplementary chargesheet has come up with three new names — Michel’s business partner David Syms and two companies Global Services FZE, UAE, and Global Trade & Commerce Ltd — apart from the 38 previously named as accused in the case. The ED’s revelations, coming in the midst of the election campaign, are likely to become political fodder.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in his campaign speeches referred to persons in Tihar jail who can spill the beans on Congress while the opposition party has said the cases are a witch hunt and warned officials that they might face action for being over-zealous. The supplementary chargesheet is believed to have completed the chain of how a total of 70 million euros was paid as bribe by Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland in the chopper deal.

The chargesheet reiterated that the total amount of 70 million euros was paid through the two middlemen — Michel and Guido Haschke. Of the 70 million euros , 42 million euros went into the bank accounts of Michel’s companies Global Services FZE, UAE, and Global Trade & Commerce Ltd. The remaining 28 million euros was transferred to the bank account of IDS Tunisia, a firm owned by Haschke.
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