June 20, 2021
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AgustaWestland Scam: CBI Files Supplementary Chargesheet Against 15 Accused

The probe report filed, details the alleged role played by middlemen, Michel James and Rajeev Saxena.

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AgustaWestland Scam: CBI Files Supplementary Chargesheet Against 15 Accused
India had entered into an agreement with AgustaWestland to supply 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to ferry VVIP passengers. The deal was cancelled by India in 2014 over bribery allegations.
PTI File Photo
AgustaWestland Scam: CBI Files Supplementary Chargesheet Against 15 Accused

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a supplementary chargesheet against British National Christian Michel James and businessman Rajeev Saxena in the AgustaWestland chopper scam. In its final report filed before Special Judge Arvind Kumar, the CBI has named 15 middlemen, which includes Michel and Saxena. The court is likely to take up the matter for consideration on September 21.

According to sources, the probe report filed on Friday details the alleged role played by Michel, Saxena and others in delivering bribes to politicians, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force (IAF) officials.

Sources claim that the agency, which had earlier this year sought sanction from the concerned authorities to prosecute former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, has not named him as an accused since the request is not granted yet. The agency told the court that it may file another supplementary chargesheet in the matter later. The first chargesheet in the case was filed in September 2017 naming former IAF Chief SP Tyagi and others.

The agency had earlier told the court that "during the course of investigation, copies of classified/ secret official documents of Indian Air Force (IAF) and the 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 was received from Italy and Switzerland.”

It had also said that a ''payment sheet recovered from Michel, prepared on his dictation, shows that an amount of “30 Million Euros was proposed to be paid to the officers of IAF, MoD, bureaucrats, politicians and their families in India for showing favour in the VVIP helicopter deal."
The applicant (Michel) had allegedly 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 42.27 Million Euros 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,” the CBI claimed. According to the CBI, out of the kickbacks received from AgustaWestland, Michel further made payments to various persons in India. Michel was taken into custody by the CBI on December 5 last year after his extradition from Dubai, while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) took him into custody on December 22 last year. He is currently in judicial custody in both cases.

Dubai-based businessman Saxena was extradited to India on January 31, 2019 in connection with the scam relating to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland. While Michel is currently in judicial custody, Saxena is out on bail in a money laundering case filed by the ED. ED had earlier arrested Saxena but he was later granted bail after the agency supported his plea to turn approver in the case.

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.


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