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Copter middleman in ED charge sheet

The second charge sheet details the role of Christian Michel in the VVIP chopper deal, his multiple visits to India and his transactions.  

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a supplementary charge sheet in connection with the VVIP helicopter scandal, detailing the role of alleged British middleman Christian Michel and some of his Indian associates.

According to officials, the over 1,300-page prosecution complaint, or charge sheet, of the ED was placed before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in New Delhi early this week.

The ED has claimed that it Mr. Michel received Euro 30 million, (around Rs. 225 crore), from AgustaWestland, the British helicopter firm.

The agency charged that this was the bribe given to secure the 12 helicopter deal in 2010 from the Indian government. The ED and the CBI are also investigating two other middlemen.

Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa are being investigated for alleged corruption in the purchase of the helicopters for flying Indian VVIPs.

The second charge sheet details the alleged role of Mr. Michel in the deal, his several India visits and transactions. The first one was filed by the agency in November 2014. The supplementary charge sheet would strengthen the move to demand the alleged middleman’s extradition from U.K., sources said.

Officials said the ED had accused the three middlemen of making inroads into the Indian Air Force to influence and subvert its stand, regarding reducing the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 metres. It was brought down to 4,500 metres in 2005 after which AgustaWestland became eligible for the contract.

The charge sheet claimed that remittances made by Mr. Michel through his Dubai-based firm Global Services FZE to a media firm in Delhi, floated by him along with two Indians, were from the funds that he got from AgustaWestland.

The ED had registered a PMLA case in 2014 into the scandal and named 21 people including former Air Chief S.P. Tyagi in the case. It had also arrested Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan, who is now out on bail.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged payment of bribes, which was a breach of contractual obligations.




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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 6:19:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Copter-middleman-in-ED-charge-sheet/article14424146.ece

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