The CBI continued to question for the second day Thursday Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the graft-tainted Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal during the UPA rule, officials said.
The CBI continued to question for the second day Thursday Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the graft-tainted Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal during the UPA rule, officials said. They said the team asked him to corroborate various contracts he had signed with Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland and the payments received from these companies.
Michel, 57, is under constant medical observation with a team deployed to monitor his health parameters, they said. He was given normal Indian food from the CBI canteen as per his nutritional requirements, they said.
The agency is maintaining in letter and spirit the orders and procedures of custodial interrogation, they said, adding that he was given enough time to sleep and relax tonight. The CBI has also received request for consular access to Michel from the British High Commission through the External Affairs Ministry which is under process, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said. The officials said there are a lot of documents which the agency had received from the Italian authorities which were probing the matter earlier, besides the material collected by it during the searches.
A lot of material needs corroboration and his questioning will also fill gaps in money trail of bribe amount, they said. The sources refused to comment if Michel was cooperating, but said he is answering the queries of the investigating team. The agency has alleged that Michel has evaded any probe in the matter which puts him on a different pedestal than Guido Haschke — another middleman — who faced trial in Italy and entered in plea bargain.
The CBI had filed a charge sheet against him in September last year. He was extradited from Dubai after clearance from the UAE government and is in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) till December 10.
Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, apart from Italian Guido Haschke (US and Italian nationality) and Carlo Gerosa (Swiss and Italian nationality). It was alleged that he had entered into a criminal conspiracy with co-accused persons, which included then IAF chief SP Tyagi and his family members, and the public servants had abused their official positions by reducing service ceiling of the VVIPs helicopter from 6,000 m to 4,500 m.
The reduction in ceiling made AgustaWestland eligible for contract worth 556.262 million Euros, which was awarded to it by the Defence Ministry on February 08, 2010, for procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters. On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to securing the deal.