HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014

Choppergate: probe zeroes in on Brit national’s role

Jayanth Jacob & Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 21, 2013
First Published: 01:29 IST(21/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:31 IST(21/2/2013)

The role played by British national Christian Michel in swinging the VVIP chopper deal in favour of AgustaWestland is now the focus of a multi-agency probe.


While Italian agencies managed to tap phones and record conversations of other accused middlemen — Guido Ralph Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, there is not much clarity on Michel’s role.

Michel received €30 million euro (around 210 crore) of the bribe — almost €9 million (R60 crore) more than Guido Haschke.

According to Italian investigators, Christian Michel’s firm, Global Trade and Commerce, was paid more than €18 million or R130 crores by AgustaWestland to buy back 10 Pawan Hans helicopters that UK had sold to India as part of an aid programme in 1980s.

Nine of the 19 helicopters acquired by India from Westland for £65 million in the mid-1980s had been shipped back to the UK in 2000, sources said.

There is also the coincidence of Beetle Nut Home, a subsidiary of Michel’s Dubai-based firm, inducting two Indian origins British nationals a week after the defence m inistry signed the contract for the choppers.

CBI seeks documents

Senior officials of CBI met in Milan the Italian judge and public prosecutors who are part of a probe into bribery charges against the firm that had bagged the contract. CBI, which is conducting a probe into the deal made in 2010, said it had requested for a certified copy of the probe-related documents.

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