In AgustaWestland case, a 12 million Euro payout to Italian political party under scanner

The Central Bureau of Investigation has learnt that alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland case, James Christian Michel had moved his contacts in India through the various international phone numbers he had.

There were at least 10 different contact numbers he had with him to contact several persons in India in a bid to swing the AugstaWest chopper deal in his favour, investigations have revealed.

He was confronted with these numbers during his custodial interrogation by the CBI. A CBI source tells OneIndia that he has been in constant denial of any wrong-doing. However our case is strongly backed by documentary proof, the officer also added. Michel, who is a citizen of the United Kingdom, was brought to India on December 4 following his extradition by the UAE in connection with the case.

He was produced before special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar on December 5, who remanded him to police custody for five days allowing the premier investigating agency’s plea that they required his custodial interrogation to find out the money trail. He will be produced before the Delhi court again on Monday. Further the CBI is also looking into allegations made against a former senior employee of AgustaWestland, who was in touch with an Italian based political party, Lega Nord. It is alleged that the party was paid 12 million Euros in exchange for support to the firm.

This is an important link, a CBI official added. The middlemen controlled political parties both in India as well as Italy to ensure that there was no trouble for the firm and the deal. The CBI is also probing how Michel allegedly kept in touch with officials and unearthed sensitive information from the various ministries. It is also suspected that he had tried to obtain details relating to payments that were made by the Indian government to AgustaWestland.