The officials of the CBI and ED investigating the AgustaWestland bribery case are looking for the ‘dog’ who has been provided with a ‘bone’ as mentioned in a note suspected to have been written by Christian Michel. As per a report in the Times of India, Christian Michel allegedly wrote a thanking note to his partner GH (Guido Haschke) for the lunch with the message “hope the dog likes the bone” on February 8, 2008. The note has come under the lens of the investigating authorities probing the case.
The investigation agencies are now decoding the conversation between AgustaWestland’s senior officers Leonardo, Michel, Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, on 8 February 2008. The officials have in their possession notes and documents in which all the AgustaWestland functionaries are talking about bringing the Flight Assessment team for the VVIP helicopters, including the CVC, Defense Secretary, Joint Secretary (Air), Air Force Maintenance Command, on board.
The note which is allegedly been written by Michel begins with the organisation of a lunch party to finalize the VVIP chopper deal. In this note, Mitchell allegedly expresses his gratitude to GH Guido Haschke for the lunch on the previous day, with a hope that the ‘dog would have liked the bone’. The CBI and ED officials suspect that the dog mentioned in the note alludes to an Indian decision-maker involved in this contract.
As reported by the TOI, there is a charge against Haschke that he lobbied for Augusta Westland through Tyagi brothers (brothers of former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi). On the other hand, Michel is accused of lobbying 25 times. According to the agencies, Michel was in direct contact with politicians, officers and defence personnel.
The note also reveals that Michel was aware of a team being sent to evaluate America’s Sikorsky S-92 and AW-101and its due return to Delhi on February 14. Michel has also mentioned in the note that the next two months are going to be very difficult and that this is the last chance for them to nail the contract.
It has also been referred in the note that the Central Vigilance Commission Chief was willing to favour AgustaWestland. The Italian Court has mentioned in their verdict many people including CVC in a bribery case to the tune of 8.4 million euros.
“If we present a strong case and the government is involved, then the CVC, which constitutes the policies of most contracts, will accept us,” the note states.
Michelle further writes in this note that the Maintenance Command of the Air Force is ready to deliberate with us on the technical and maintenance issues, while the Defense Secretary and the Joint Secretary will be brought on board later.