In a major development in the AgustaWestland case, Enforcement Directorate has told the Patiala House Court that Christian Michel, who was extradited earlier in December, has named 'Mrs Gandhi' and 'R'. Speaking to Republic TV, BJP spokesperson Suresh Nakhua alleged that 'Congress top brass is trying to protect Michel'.
"Remember in the past also I had said that time will come when Christian Michel will speak out names like a canary and now he has started saying it. There is one more thing 'R' is coming up. One more important thing I noticed that the lawyer of Christian Michel is talking about the proceedings in Italian court while the judgement which came in bail application of Christian Michel clearly states that Christian Michel was not a part of any legal proceedings in Italy. The lawyers that the Congress party has thrown out might be passing on the messages. The main lawyer of Christian Michel was involved with Congress and the other two were also involved with the party. Congress top brass is trying to protect Michel".
Earlier in the day, Christian Michel named 'Mrs Gandhi' also spoke about “the son of the Italian lady” and how he is going to become the “next prime minister of the country”. Furthermore, during the hearing, ED also told the Patiala House Court that Christian Michel has identified how HAL(Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) was removed from the deal and the deal was offered to Tata instead. ED also seeks to ban Michel's lawyer's access to him alleging that the investigation in the case is being tampered. ED alleges that Michel is being tutored from the 'outside' through his lawyers.
ED has sought 8 days further custody of Michel. It further seeks to confront Michel about his various visits to India and the people involved in the case.
"We need to decipher who the “big man” referred to as “R” is in the communication between Michel and other people.," said ED officials to the Patiala House Court.
Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. Both CBI and ED had notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (about Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010, for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million. The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.