Investigative Agencies probing the UPA-era AgustaWestland Scam have been continuously grilling middleman Christian Michel and unearthed various aspects relating to the scam. Now, agencies have started probing the ‘political leader’ mentioned by Christin Michel’s in his correspondence to AugustaWestland executive, in the year of 2009.
According to an Economic Times report, Christian Michel has revealed that the “procurement papers” related to price negotiation of the deal were shared with a party leader, in addition to the home, finance, foreign, defence and Prime Minister. Agencies are suspecting that the correspondence hints towards a possible leak of the information related to the Contract Negotiation Committee, which is highly confidential.
The authorities have long suspected that Christian Michel had unbridled access to the then UPA government. These suspicions did not come without reasons, considering a previous report about a letter written by Michel to AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi back in 2009 confirmed the extent of his access within the UPA government.
In the letter written by Michel to Giuseppe Orsi, he had said that he had unbridled access to the UPA cabinet meetings and the Cabinet Committee for Security. He also said that he had access to classified conversations between the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Hillary Clinton. He also claimed that he had “pressurised” the PM through Congress party “elites”.
In another letter by Christain Micheal to AgustaWestland executive Giacomo Saponaro, he mentioned about a minister putting efforts to swing the deal in favour of the British manufacturer.
“I have discussed this with the political people who will receive the CNC recommendation after our meeting on Friday. The minister states if we refuse to drop escalation, he will not allow the CNC to simply write to AgustaWestland (A.W.) rejecting A.W and calling for a new tender. The minister will call a meeting on January 6 to review the position”, the letter read.
It added that with support from a minister, they have a “fighting chance”. But, he also added that it won’t be possible to seal the deal during the tenure of UPA-1, as the political intervention will nearly take a month. It further discussed four points regarding the deal. First, it said, as they have not received any negotiation plea on the main price, it can help them save time and money.
“Secondly, India would pay for the aircraft in euros and, with at least 50% of those to be built in the UK, the deal would give rise to a minimum 20% saving,” it said. “Thirdly, vendors will be more flexible on price. Fourthly, the position that this deal will give your company and product in India will be second to none. Lastly, if we understand the shortfalls in the price, we can more than make this up in the coming years, let alone the life of the products.” The letter read.
Michel was extradited to India on 4 December from United Arab Emirates (UAE). Recently it was also unearthed that, Christian Michel’s involvement was not only restricted to AgustaWestland scam. He had also lobbied against France-based Rafale in order to enable Eurofighter, its rival, to grab the MMRCA deal. On 5th January, the Patiala House Court had extended Michel’s judicial custody till February 26.