Agusta scam: Key middleman open to questioning via video-conference

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 12, 2016 00:33 IST
A file photo of AgustaWestland (AW 101) VVIP air force helicopter. Middleman Christian Michel said he is open to being questioned via video-conferencing. (PTI Photo)

Middleman Christian Michel, who is wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in their probes into the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal, has said he is open to being questioned via video-conferencing from the Indian consulate in Dubai.

Michel also offered to share scam-related “documents authenticated” by him. The offer came at a time when both probe agencies have zeroed in on three firms linked to him and were allegedly involved in the bribes’ money trail.

The British national, who gave an interview to India Today news channel on Wednesday, said he wanted to join the country’s “due process” in the probe.

Asked specifically about people who may have benefitted from the deal, Michel said, “I can’t say there were no kickbacks.”

Michel drew comparison with 26/11 accused David Coleman “Headley” and said that if India can “interview” the Pakistani- American LeT terrorist via video-conferencing, then why can’t he, too, do the same.

Headley deposed to a Mumbai court as an approver in February this year.

On being asked if he planned to turn an approver, Michel did not give a clear answer. He offered to co-operate to disclose details on two case co-accused — middleman Gautam Haschke and lawyer Gautam Khaitan — whom he called key figures.

With an Interpol Red Corner Notice pending against him, Michel had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last November to “assist” in the scam probe. The NDA government had dismissed the offer.

Michel is among three non-Indian middlemen accused of receiving around Rs 360 crore from AW Limited.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, CBI questioned three accused named in the FIR — CEO of Aeromatrix Infosolutions Pvt Limited Praveen Bakshi, managing director of IDS Infotech Pratap Aggarwal and lawyer Gautam Khaitan.

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