A driver, earlier employed by British national Christian Michel, an alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, has given crucial leads to the Enforcement Directorate on his local contacts.
ED records reveal that the agency last year came across one Narayan Bahadur, who earlier worked as a driver for Michel during his visits to the national capital. Michel apparently stayed in a certain luxury hotel in Lutyens’ Delhi. The driver disclosed that several times he had heard Michel mentioning the names of the two other alleged middlemen, Carlos Gerosa and Guido Haschke, on the phone.
During questioning, Bahadur purportedly disclosed the locations of the properties that had been acquired by Michel at Safdarjung Enclave, Mehrauli and Ishwar Nagar in Delhi. Bahadur also shared information with the ED on his local contacts.
Following the leads, the agency zeroed in on two dozen local contacts of Michel. The list included two senior journalists, including one who once headed a Hindi news channel and had led the investigating team in an English daily, and two retired Indian Air Force officials.
Journalist involved The Mumbai-based journalist earlier worked with an aviation industry magazine and had been acquainted with Michel since 1985. After quitting his job in 2002, the journalist got in touch with Michel and started sending him reports on a range of issues including developments pertaining to military and civilian aircraft and middlemen in defence contracts.
Michel later allegedly asked the journalist to join his Delhi-based shell company, Media Exim Private Ltd., as a director. The journalist resigned in 2013 after he learnt through media reports about Michel’s alleged role in the helicopter deal..
As it turned out, Michel had got Media Exim incorporated in 2005.
Services of the company and another tour-and-travel firm were used to purchase travel tickets worth crores between 2007 and 2013 for Michel and his contacts.
Also, the Media Exim “owner” received about Rs.7 crore from Michel’s Dubai-based Global Services FZE between 2005 and 2007 in the form of advances for export of music CDs and jewellery.