VVIP chopper deal: CBI names Christian Michel, Rajiv Saxena, others in supplementary chargesheet

New Delhi, September 19

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a supplementary chargesheet towards 15 accused, together with alleged intermediary Christian Michel and accused-turned-approver Rajiv Saxena, in reference to the alleged corruption within the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

The chargesheet filed earlier than Special Judge Arvind Kumar in Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court, doesn’t title former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, in accordance with the sources. On September 11, the probe company had sought sanctions to prosecute him.

The Special Judge has now listed the matter for September 21 for consideration of the supplementary chargesheet. The first chargesheet within the case was filed in September 2017.

The case pertains to purchasing of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters constructed by Italian defence manufacturing large Finmeccanica (now generally known as the group) at an estimated value of Rs 3,600 crore for ferrying VVIPs. In the deal, bribes have been allegedly paid to middlemen and others. The buy was cleared in 2010 by the then UPA authorities.

On January 1, 2014, India cancelled the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and on costs of paying kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.

The CBI, which registered an FIR within the case on March 12, 2013, had alleged that former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi, a few of his family members and the opposite accused obtained kickbacks from AgustaWestland to assist it win the contract.

The CBI probe revealed that a number of funds have been made to the Tyagis by alleged middlemen Guido Haschke, Carlo Gerosa and Christian Michel.

Indian investigative companies in December 2018 arrested British nationwide Michel after he was handed over by the UAE and he has been in judicial custody since then. Dubai-based businessman Saxena was extradited to India on January 31, 2019, in reference to the case. — IANS

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