Michel de­nies brib­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials

Millennium Post - - Mp Nation -

NEW DELHI: Mid­dle­man Chris­tian Michel, who was ex­tra­dited “un­con­di­tion­ally” by UAE on Tues­day, “ag­gres­sively” de­nied pay­ing bribes to any UPA leader or de­fence min­istry of­fi­cial as sug­gested in his pur­ported hand­writ­ten notes, but ad­mit­ted to tak­ing money from Agus­tawest­land, which he said was a “con­sul­tancy” fee. Of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with his in­ter­ro­ga­tion said Michel had not dis­closed names of any “ben­e­fi­cia­ries” of bribe.

Claim­ing he was “dyslexic”, Michel told CBI of­fi­cers he couldn't write and the ‘bribery' notes list­ing al­leged pay­ments to politi­cians and bu­reau­crats were penned by Guido Haschke, an­other Euro­pean mid­dle­man, The Times of In­dia re­ported on Thurs­day.

The notes had de­scribed So­nia Gandhi as the “driv­ing force be­hind the VIP+ (chop­pers)”. Michel fur­ther said in the notes that be­sides So­nia, Pe­ter Hulet (then-in­dia re­gion sales head of Agus­tawest­land) should ‘tar­get' then-pm Man­mo­han Singh, then-de­fence min­is­ter Pranab Mukher­jee and So­nia's po­lit­i­cal sec­re­tary Ahmed Pa­tel.

A se­cond note, ti­tled ‘bud­get ex­pen­di­ture items' and dic­tated to Haschke in 2008, men­tioned acronyms of in­di­vid­u­als who were to be al­legedly paid bribes to­talling 30 mil­lion eu­ros. The men­tions in­cluded ‘FAM' and ‘AP', both men­tioned un­der a head cap­tioned ‘POL' which Ital­ian in­ves­ti­ga­tors in­ter­preted as re­fer­ring to politi­cians. Michel ac­cused Haschke of fram­ing him in these notes.

A CBI of­fi­cer said Michel was put­ting the en­tire onus of the al­leged bribery on Haschke to “save him­self and politi­cians/ in­di­vid­u­als in In­dia with whom he has links”.

“He knows ev­ery­thing and re­acts to our ques­tions ac­cord­ing to his wish. When he knows we have doc­u­ments re­lated to a cer­tain trans­ac­tion, he gets a lit­tle ag­gres­sive,” the of­fi­cer said.

Ac­cord­ing to the CBI chargesheet, Michel had signed two agree­ments with Agus­tawest­land — one for 42 mil­lion eu­ros (which he later re­duced to 30 mil­lion eu­ros) and the se­cond for 28 mil­lion eu­ros — to lobby with the “fam­ily”. Fam­ily here was a ref­er­ence to for­mer IAF chief SP Tyagi and his cousins.

“Michel claims these were con­sul­tancy con­tracts and there was noth­ing wrong in it. But he is not able to ex­plain what he did with the rest of the money af­ter de­duct­ing his 5% com­mis­sion,” the CBI of­fi­cer said. When con­fronted with doc­u­ments show­ing that af­ter re­ceiv­ing 42 mil­lion eu­ros from Agus­tawest­land, he trans­ferred the money to other com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als, Michel be­came “ag­gres­sive”, the of­fi­cer said. The CBI has copies of in­ter­nal au­dit re­ports of his com­pa­nies, which were or­dered af­ter Ital­ian pros­e­cu­tors un­earthed cor­rup­tion in the deal in 2012.

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