Chopper scam: Will file supplementary charge sheet, CBI tells courtPTI | New Delhi | Updated: 28-08-2019 19:42 IST | Created: 28-08-2019 19:42 IST
The CBI told a Delhi court Wednesday that it will file a supplementary charge sheet in the AgustaWestland chopper scam since sufficient evidence attributing criminality to more public servants and private persons has surfaced during the ongoing probe. It made the submissions before Special Judge Arvind Kumar while opposing the bail application moved by British national Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the case.
The CBI told the court that Michel was further required for confrontation with certain witnesses and suspects and there was "reasonable apprehension" of his exercising influence over the witnesses and tampering with evidence if released on bail. "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," the agency said.
It also told the court that it has to probe a 'payment sheet' recovered from one of the accused, prepared on the dictation of Michel. According to the sheet, "An amount of Euro 30 million was paid/ proposed to be paid to the officers of IAF, MoD, bureaucrats, politicians and family in India for showing favour in the VVIP helicopter deal."
The applicant 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. "An amount of Euro 42.27 million was paid by the Westland Group Companies to the firms of the applicant as kickbacks/ bribes without undertaking any work against the receipt of such amount," it said.
It said that out of the kickbacks received from AgustaWestland, Michel further made payments to various persons in india in the guise of false work. "Investigation is at crucial stage to ascertain the end use of such proceeds of crime and beneficiaries thereof...
"Further investigation has revealed sufficient evidence attributing criminality against other public servants and private persons, which would be submitted before this court in the form of supplementary charge sheet," it said. The CBI added that there was grave apprehension of his fleeing from justice and not being available for the trial and probe. "Michel is a British national, having no roots in India."
Michel was involved in a "grave economic offence", it said. "He is a key link to unearth the modus operandi and there is ample evidence on record to link accused to the commission of the offence herein, and his release on bail would adversely affect further investigation to unearth the deep rooted multi-layered conspiracy." Besides the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate has also opposed the bail application moved by him in a money laundering case related to the scam. The court will hear the matter further tomorrow. In his plea, Michel said the investigation regarding him was over and no useful purpose would be served by keeping him in further custody.
He said he would be available to join the probe as and when required. 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 the cases.
He is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper scam by the two central agencies. Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa are the other two. The agencies had told the court that Michel made 24.25 million euros and 1,60,96,245 pounds from the now scrapped AgustaWestland deal.
The CBI has alleged that the deal signed in February 2010 to supply VVIP choppers worth 556.262 million euros caused an estimated loss of 398.21 million euros (about Rs 2,666 crore) to the state exchequer.