On Wednesday, the CBI claimed itself to have achieved “extraordinary” diplomatic victory after a British national Christian Michel, a suspected middleman in AgustaWestland chopper deal was unconditionally extradited by UAE for five days and brought to India for conducting trials in the case.
According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Christian Michel, the son of Wolfgang Michel, who was involved in several arms deals with India in the 1970s and 80s was appointed as a middleman by AgustaWestland to secure deals for them. The job of Michel and a fellow middleman Guido Haschke was to influence people including politicians and leaders of various countries and help AugastaWestland in sealing deals via bribes – including the deal VVIP chopper deal with India during UPA government’s tenure.
In 2012, Swiss authorities raided Guido Haschke’s home and recovered handwritten notes which had acronyms and amounts related to the deals made by the two. The notes included acronyms like AP, FAM and POL, which investigators assume that could point to represent Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the Nehru-Gandhi family and politicians. CBI also claims that an amount of 37 million euros (then nearly Rs 240 crore, now Rs 300 crore) was transferred to India during 2006-07 by Michel using 12 sham contracts in various different bank names.
After being presented to CBI judge Arvind Kumar yesterday evening, Christian Michel has denied paying bribes to any UPA leader or official, and has not disclosed names of any beneficiaries. Michel has also maintained that the diary recovered from Switzerland was forged by Haschke, as he cannot write being a dyslexic. In case if Michel changes his stand, it will directly incriminate the Gandhi family’s top leaders as bribers in the AgustaWestland chopper deal. However, there’s already twist as per the statements by Michel that he was actually offered a deal by unmentioned sources to incriminate Sonia Gandhi for his freedom from the case and unconditional extradition that he is on currently.