Chopper scam: Court takes cognisance of supplementary charge sheet

By: |
September 25, 2020 5:55 PM

Michel had entered into as many as five contracts through two of his firms to legitimise the illicit commission/ kickbacks on the procurement of VVIP helicopters by MoD, India, the CBI said.

Besides Saxena, summons were also issued to the then AgustaWestland International Director Giacomino Saponaro, also arrayed as an accused, for October 23.Besides Saxena, summons were also issued to the then AgustaWestland International Director Giacomino Saponaro, also arrayed as an accused, for October 23.

A Delhi Court Friday took cognisance of a supplementary charge sheet filed by the CBI against Dubai-based businessman Rajeev Saxena and others in the AgustaWestland chopper scam.

Besides Saxena, summons were also issued to the then AgustaWestland International Director Giacomino Saponaro, also arrayed as an accused, for October 23.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar also issued production warrant against British National Christian Michel James, who was earlier arrested in the case and is currently lodged in Tihar central jail here, directing the jail authorise to produce him on next date of hearing.

The supplementary charge sheet, according to the CBI sources details the alleged role played by Saxena and others in bringing bribes for politicians, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force (IAF) officials in India in the scam.

The sources said that the agency, which had earlier this year sought sanction from the authorities concerned to prosecute former defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, has not named him as an accused since the request is not granted yet.

The judge took cognisance of the offences including that of section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 201 (destruction of evidence), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery) 468 (forgery for cheating) and 471 (using forged document as genuine) of IPC and various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, related to bribing a public servant and criminal misconduct by a public servant.

I have heard counsel for CBI and gone through the material on record. Issue summons to accused persons for October 23, the judge said while taking cognizance of the charge sheet filed on September 18.

Others summoned include Sandeep Tyagi, Praveen Bakshi, Pratap Krishan Aggarwal, Narendra Kumar Jain, Rajesh Kumar Jain, Sunil Kothari, Deepak Goyal and K V Kunhikrishnan.

Sandeep Tyagi is the cousin of former IAF chief SP Tyagi, who has been named as an accused with others in the first charge sheet filedf in the case in September 2017.

The court also summoned several companies named as accused in the final report; IDS Infotech Ltd., India (through its MD P K Aggarwal), Aeromatrix Info Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (through its Director Gautam Khaitan), Neel Madhav Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (through its Director Sandeep Tyagi), Mainak Agency Pvt. Ltd. (through its Directors Sandeep Tyagi and Sanjeev Tyagi) and Interstellar Technologies Ltd., Mauritius (through its Director Rajiv Saxena).

The agency told the court that it may file another supplementary charge sheet in the matter.

The agency had earlier told the court that during the course of investigation, copies of classified/ secret official documents of Indian Air Force (IAF)/ Ministry of Defence (MoD) such as Operational Requirements for VVIP helicopters before issuance of Request of Proposal and other incriminating documents running into more than one lakh pages received from Italy and Switzerland.

Michel had entered into as many as five contracts through two of his firms to legitimise the illicit commission/ kickbacks on the procurement of VVIP helicopters by MoD, India, the CBI said.

It said that out of the kickbacks received from AgustaWestland, Michel further made payments to various persons in India.

Michel was taken into custody by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on December 5 last year after his extradition from Dubai, while the ED took him into custody on December 22 last year. He is currently in judicial custody in both cases.

Dubai-based businessman Saxena was extradited to India on January 31, 2019 in connection with the scam relating to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland.

ED had earlier arrested Saxena but he was later granted bail after the agency supported his plea to turn approver in the case.

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