In a massive development in the AgustaWestland scam, the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday unearthed the alleged involvement of senior Congress leader Kamal Nath's sons- Bakul Nath and Nakul Nath in the high-profile case. As per ED probe, his sons were beneficiaries of a firm that received 14.2 million USD as kickbacks in connection with the case. Additionally, Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul Puri also received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 1 million USD. Accused Rajeev Saxena, who was deported from Dubai in connection with the case, has also come forward with the names of other Congress leaders, which are yet to be looked into.
Republic Media Network has received exclusive details of the chargesheet which has been filed based on Saxena's statements. Owner of Interstellar Services, Saxena has claimed that Nath's nephew Ratul Puri had received over one million USD as kickbacks through prime-accused Christian Michel.
Kamal Nath's sons Bakul Nath and Nakul Nath, owners of a trust called 'Savana', also own a company called 'Pristine Rivers', which has received a 14.2 million USD kickback, as per the ED charge sheet.
As the names emerge in the AugustaWestland case, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing a press conference said that 'no work could be done, without kickbacks' under the UPA government.
"Whenever you think of a kickback in a Ministry deal of defense, you think of Congress leaders. After independence, be it Bofors, Submarine scandal, or VVIP helicopters and AgustaWestland, no work could be done, without kickbacks, and without congress leaders getting that kickback. No deal without a deal, no contract without a cut," he said.
The Congress-led UPA government in 2010 signed the contract worth Rs 3,600 crores to procure 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters. It was alleged that bribes were paid to middlemen and even politicians in the procurement.
The scam was first unearthed in Italy when the CEO of AgustaWestland Bruno Spagnolini was arrested by Italian authorities on charges the company bribed middlemen to secure the deal with the Indian Air Force (IAF). In 2013, an investigation began into allegations of bribery and corruption involving several senior officials and the helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in September this year, filed a charge sheet naming the 15 accused including Christian James Michel in the VVIP Chopper scam. Michel is said to be one of the critical middlemen facilitating the deal. CBI had earlier alleged that firms of Michel received about 42.27 million euros for the purpose and the bribes were routed through his companies. He was extradited to India from UAE in 2018.