VVIP Chopper: ED’s supplementary charge sheet against Michel claims 42 million euros in kickbackshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/vvip-chopper-eds-supplementary-charge-sheet-against-michel-claims-42-million-euros-in-kickbacks-5659276/

VVIP Chopper: ED’s supplementary charge sheet against Michel claims 42 million euros in kickbacks

In its first charge sheet, filed against Michel in June 2016, ED had alleged that Michel and others received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.

ED’s special public prosecutors D P Singh and N K Matta told the court that British nationals Syms and Michel through their firms had received the money without undertaking any work against the receipt of such amount. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Enforcement Directorate told a Delhi court Thursday that Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper scam, and other accused received 42 million euros as kickbacks in the deal.

The probe agency, in its 3,000-page supplementary charge sheet also named David Syms, Michel’s alleged business partner, and two firms owned by them– Global Trade and Commerce Ltd and Global Services FZE — as accused.

In its first charge sheet, filed against Michel in June 2016, ED had alleged that Michel and others received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar said he will decide on whether to take cognisance of the ED’s supplementary charge sheet and to summon the accused on April 6.

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ED’s special public prosecutors D P Singh and N K Matta told the court that British nationals Syms and Michel through their firms had received the money without undertaking any work against the receipt of such amount.

The money was received by the firms to execute the 12 helicopters deal but no helicopters were bought, ED said.

“The money was paid by Westland Group companies to these two firms. The money was then routed to different companies and individuals. This was done through these two firms in which both (Michel and Syms) of them are directors… Syms’ bank statement records showed that substantial amount has been credited to it,” ED said.

The agency said that this money trail completed the missing link in the total EUR 70 million trail of the AgustaWestland deal which was being investigated by it.

ED said that EUR 28 million was routed through the other channel by co-accused lawyer Gautam Khaitan, Rajeev Saxena and his wife Shivani and their firms.

It had earlier alleged, in the charge sheet, that companies owned by Saxena and his wife — Interstellar Technologies, Mauritius, UHY Saxena, Dubai, Matrix — have received proceeds of crime from Global Services FZE.

ED had claimed that Michel had entered into 12 contracts through two of his firms with Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, Westland Helicopters, UK and so on.

Michel, extradited from Dubai in December last year, was one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.

The CBI on September 1, 2017, had filed a charge sheet in the case in which Michel was named as one of the accused.

Former IAF Chief S P Tyagi was also chargesheeted by the CBI in a Delhi Court along with nine others in connection with a bribery case in the VVIP chopper deal.

Tyagi (73) is the first chief of the Indian Air Force to be chargesheeted in a corruption or a criminal case by the CBI and he has denied all charges against him.

Besides him, the agency has also chargesheeted retired Air Marshal J S Gujral along with eight others, including five foreign nationals, in the charge sheet filed before the Special CBI Judge.

AgustaWestland, is also one of the accused.

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Others named in the charge sheet are — Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev alias Julie, advocate Gautam Khaitan, alleged European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel, Guido Haschke, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi.

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