The alleged middleman in the 3600 crore VVIP chopper scam, Christian Michel had in July 2009 written to Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of AgustaWestland, asking if ‘Rome’ can be asked to cooperate in finalising the deal. According to a report in the Economic Times, documents accessed show that Michel had asked Orsi not to indulge in any publicity should his company wins the contract.
As per the ET report, Michel had written to Giuseppe Orsi, “We continue to request that no announcement or publicity is created by us. When this deal is signed, if the holding company makes an announcement, a complaint will be formally lodged with your ambassador. Please, can Rome be asked to cooperate?”. The communication had happened on July 31, 2009.
Further, Michel’s communication also allegedly indicates that he had the means to track the movement of the file pertaining to the deal. The report quotes from the accessed document that Michel had written, “It is confirmed that our file is with the PM’s office (PMO). Last night the Cabinet met to discuss economic affairs, not military. However, the PM stated that all ministers had been circulated the Cabinet note for the procurement of the ‘VI”.
The communication also reveals that Michel had information about the ongoings of the CCS (Cabinet Committee for Security) meeting. The document also allegedly claims that the then PM Manmohan Singh wanted the file to be cleared without any issue and hence had directed that if any of the ministers have any questions, the questions should be directed to the CCS to be discussed.
The ET report quotes, “As we thought, the PM intends to sign the deal after Parliament ends on the 7th. We don’t like this delay, but it is wise.” Michel had allegedly added that the CCS was scheduled to be held in the week starting August 10 and they can be sure that they can expect to be called to finalise the deal in the later part of the week starting August 18.
The communication also claims that all obstacles in the way of the deal have been removed. The report further quotes, “What the PM has done is clear any final obstacles to clearing the file. Any questions any minister may have will be answered. If the Finance Minister (FM) wishes to make trouble this process should otherwise outmaneuver him, and we can expect a smooth passage of our file through the CCS (we think the FM is okay now),” as written by Michel to Orsi. Michel had also asked Orsi to congratulate the new defense secretary.
It is notable here that AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel was extradited to India in the first week of December and is now under the ED custody.
Christian Michel is accused of money laundering, bribery, and fraud in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore worth AgustaWestland scam. It is believed that not only did he pay kickbacks to politicians, officers, and agents but also involved certain celebrity journalists to swing the deal.
During his interrogation and court hearings, Michel has reportedly confirmed that AP in his communications refers to Congress’ Ahmed Patel and ‘fam’ means the family. Last week, it was revealed that he had also revealed a certain ‘Mrs. Gandhi’ during interrogation but is yet to reveal the context of her involvement. The ED had also revealed that Michel had spoken about the ‘son of the Italian lady’ who could be the ‘next PM of the country’.