British arms agent and middlemen in the high profile AgustaWestland chopper deal scam Christian Michel has said that then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s move seeking cabinet’s view on the deal threw those involved in pushing the deal to wolves. Michel was extradited from Dubai three years ago on December 4 as the key suspect in the alleged bribery scam linked to the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal. Michel has been lodged in Tihar jail since then and is involved in a legal fight with investigating agencies to get bail while refusing to provide more documentary evidence.
Michel, in his interrogation report, has said that PM Singh had asked his cabinet ministers to put up any objection they may have to the deal in 2009 amid diplomatic pressure. Following this, Michel wrote to his bosses: “We know the Indian Prime Minister had thrown this business open for all the Ministers to look at…What happened for me was a nightmare…the statement (of the Prime Minister) threw us to the wolves.”
In another letter to his boss, Michel claimed that the deal was on the edge of the cliff and none of the agents involved who offered help had any idea about the problem and its solution. The Indian Express has accessed the voluminous report on his interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate. Michel had claimed in the report that he had lobbied with the then UPA Government to seal the deal.
Michel had claimed in one of his dispatches to AgustaWestland headquarters that he had to engage the entire Cabinet which appeared ‘ridiculous’ to him for such a small deal. India had quashed the deal when the bribery scam came to light in 2014.
Michel is accused of receiving the money to the tune of Euro 42 million as the alleged kickbacks, mainly through his Dubai-based companies. Despite frequent rounds of questioning in Tihar Jail, he has not yet handed over the required corroborative evidence and crucial banking details.