National

‘Agusta middleman Michel accessed classified documents’

Christian Michel.

Christian Michel.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

CBI claims that he connived with Kunhikrishnan, then general manager of Westland Helicopters in Delhi

The Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged that AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel accessed classified documents on the procurement process in connivance with K.V. Kunhikrishnan, the then general manager of Westland Helicopters, in Delhi.

Support services

According to the agency, Mr. Michel paid ₹97 lakh to Mr. Kunhikrishnan during 2011-2012, which was shown as remittance for providing offset support services. However, no such services were allegedly provided by him. These facts were not brought on record in the Italian courts, it said.

The CBI alleges that the British national, who was extradited from the United Arab Emirates last December, had hired one J.B. Subramanian as his associate in Mumbai for typing hand-written notes and sending confidential information on the defence procurement processes to those linked to AgustaWestland and another middleman, Guido Haschke, via fax or other means.

Dispatches recovered

“These reports/dispatches were recovered from the house of Mr. Haschke’s mother at Lugano on April 23, 2012, by the Swiss Police,” the agency has recently submitted before a city court.

Among the documents received by the agency from Italy and Switzerland were those of the Indian Air Force and the Defence Ministry, paper related to the procurement of VVIP choppers, and a partly hand-written draft agreement dated May 8, 2011. “The document expert opinion has confirmed his writings on certain questioned documents...,” said the agency.

It is also alleged that Mr. Michel had hired some retired Air Force and Indian Navy officials to get inputs about defence procurements by India and the progress in the VVIP chopper matter.

Frequent visitor

Mr. Michel, a frequent visitor to India, visited Delhi the last time on February 12, 2013, and left the same day as he allegedly came to know that Italian authorities had arrested the then Finmeccanica chief Giuseppe Orsi in their case. He never returned thereafter. The UAE authorities arrested him in 2017. After completion of extradition process, he was brought to India and arrested by the CBI.

The agency plans to file a supplementary chargesheet in the court based on the latest findings against certain public and private persons.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 1:14:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/agusta-middleman-michel-accessed-classified-documents/article29316822.ece

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