The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a supplementary charge sheet against key middlemen, Christian Michel James, Rajeev Saxena and 13 others in the AgustaWestland scam, Hindustan Times reported.
The latest charge sheet alleges British middleman James’s role in bribing Indian politicians, bureaucrats and officials in the Indian Air Force (IAF) in a scam worth Rs 3,727 crore.
The second charge sheet was filed on 18 September and hasn’t named any politician or senior bureaucrat yet. Former IAF chief SP Tyagi was among others who were named in the first charge sheet that was filed back in September 2017.
The CBI had been able to establish a money trail of Rs 415 crores out of the Rs 452 crores that were paid in bribes to Indians through middlemen.
The investigation agency also said that there were irregularities in the award of the contract to AgustaWestland that led to an estimated loss of around Rs 2,666 crores to the Indian government out of the Rs 3,726 crore contract.
Here Are the Major Developments in the Case:
- In March 2020, the CBI sought prosecution sanction against former defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma former Air vice-marshal Jasbir Singh Panesar and three other IAF officers - deputy chief test pilot SA Kunte, wing commander Thomas Mathew and former group captain N Santosh.
- According to the officials familiar with the development, a supplementary charge sheet will be filed against Sharma and others when the sanction is accorded.
- Michel was allegedly paid Rs 295 crores bribe by AgustaWestland for further paying it to Indian politicians for negotiating the deal for 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of the firm. He was extradited to India on 4 December 2018.
- Rajiv Saxena was made an approver by the Enforcement Directorate and bought from Dubai in January 2019. The agency later sought revocation of this status saying he misled investigators.
- The CBI also said that Michel was imposed as a controller on the other two middlemen, Ralph Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, who had no specific knowledge in the sector of helicopters.
- Michel entered into almost 12 contracts through Global Trade and Commerce Ltd London and Global Services FZE, based out of Dubai, with Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, Westland Helicopters UK and more to make the deal legitimate on the procurement of the VVIP helicopters.
- Bribes worth 30 million euros for Indian politicians and bureaucrats were mentioned in a note prepared by Michel which had individuals referred to as “AP”, “Pol”, “Bur” and “AF”. The CBI is hoping that they will be able to figure out these names post interrogation.
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