The Enforcement Directorate has informed the Patiala House Court in Delhi that there is nothing wrong in media outlets publishing or broadcasting the contents of the supplementary charge sheet in the AgustaWestland chopper deal case.
The ED has made the submission in response to the allegation made by Christian Michel’s lawyer that the ED is attempting to politicise the case by leaking the contents to the media.
As per reports, the ED has submitted that the charge sheet was a public document submitted in court and there is nothing wrong if someone has accessed it. “It is not that nobody was entitled to get a copy. The cognisance of it has already been taken”, the ED has informed to the court denying the allegation that the agency has leaked the document.
The ED has also sought dismissal of the petition filed by Michel, saying that the media obtaining the contents of the charge sheet has not affected anyone’s rights. Christian Michel’s lawyer had last week requested special judge Arvind Kumar to order an inquiry into the ED ‘leaking’ the charge sheet to the media.
The court has posted the case for further hearing after Michel’s lawyer sought time to respond to the ED’s submission. The court has also directed the court staff to file a report with information regarding the charge sheet, including how many copies were submitted by the agency.
In the charge sheet submitted by the ED on April 4 had several explosive revelations about the case. It had mentioned communications between Michel and the CEO of AgustaWestland and referred to ‘The Italian lady’ whose son was to become the ‘next Prime Minister’ and whose ‘power was growing in the party day by day’.
It has also mentioned the former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had initially objected to the deal and later was left out of the decision-making process. The charge sheet had also mentioned that Michel had attempted to influence some powerful media persons in his attempt to seal the deal. The charge sheet had named Shekhar Gupta, Manu Pubby. It had mentioned payment of Euros 205860.40 to Ashwin Santhanam, the son of jounalist Raju Santhanam and booking of tickets for Ashwin and his family worth Rs 26 lakhs.
The charge sheet had revealed that Christian Michel and Agusta had access to the ministers in the government of India at the highest level. It had stated that Michel, through several middlemen and on behalf of Agusta, had made payments of kickbacks worth millions of Euros to air force officials, journalists, and top Congress politicians, including AP, which the ED stated that stands for Ahmed Patel, as per Michel’s statement.