VVIP chopper deal: Queries to 11 countries, Enforcement Directorate, CBI wait for replies

              CBI and ED also want UK national and alleged middleman James Christian Michel to be extradited to India. . Central Bureau of Investigation

The CBI and Enforcement Directorate, probing alleged corruption in the supply of 12 helicopters to India, have almost completed the “domestic part” of the investigation, but are awaiting leads from abroad to go further.

Sources in the two agencies said they were waiting for replies to their letters rogatory sent to several countries to piece together the financial trail of alleged bribes paid in India.

Watch Video | Agusta Westland: Why Is It A Big Deal Politically Now?

CBI and ED also want UK national and alleged middleman James Christian Michel to be extradited to India.

The agencies have so far depended on evidence and documents available from people in India involved in the deal, which they said are yet to produce “prosecutable evidence” against the accused or establish the alleged bribe money trail.

Read: Govt says bribe-giver convicted, will identify taker, Sonia says do the probe

Italian authorities have shared 1.5 lakh documents related to the deal and the alleged bribes. These, CBI sources said, “are helpful”. It is through these documents that the CBI hopes to make its case against former Air Chief S P Tyagi and others.

The CBI filed an FIR in the case on March 14, 2013 after a preliminary enquiry. The FIR named Tyagi and 12 other individuals as accused, besides four companies — Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix.

Read: We banned AgustaWestland, NDA opened door again, says Congress

Individuals named in the FIR include Finmeccanica officials Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, the Tyagi family, alleged middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, advocate Gautam Khaitan, formerly associated with Aeromatrix, and its CEO Praveen Bakshi.

The FIR was filed on the basis of documents the CBI received from Italy and files from the Ministry of Defence which it said “indicate criminal conspiracy to make alterations in the requirement of helicopter specifications which suited AgustaWestland”.

Read: VVIP helicopter deal: Behind the moving parts

Over the next few months, searches were conducted and several names cropped up — those questioned included former Governors E S L Narasimhan, M K Narayanan and B V Wanchoo, and Satish Bagrodia, brother of former Union Minister Santosh Bagrodia.

The CBI alleges Indian officials were paid bribes of Rs 362 crore to swing the deal in favour of the Anglo-Italian firm. The agency claims that during the tenure of S P Tyagi, the IAF “conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres” with his approval, which allowed AgustaWestland to swing the contract.

The CBI enquiry also found that bribes were allegedly paid through a complex web of companies and middlemen based in Italy, UK, Tunisia, Mauritius, Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, Switzerland and the UAE. Letters rogatory have been sent to these entities. BVI and Tunisia, sources said, have “partially replied”.

Although Christian Michel is said to be in Dubai, CBI sources claimed he moved to the UK recently. “That’s our information,” an official said, adding that an extradition request has been sent to the UK.

Read: Judgment not against us…hang me if they find anything against me, says Ahmed Patel

The ED registered a case against 21 individuals and entities, and arrested lawyer Khaitan in September for “not cooperating with the probe”. It filed a chargesheet against five individuals and entities in November that year. This chargesheet, filed against Khaitan, his wife Ritu, alleged middlemen Gerosa and Haschke, and Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix, is the only one in the case. Khaitan is now out on bail.

The ED has made a provisional attachment of properties worth Rs 11 crore.


“We too are studying the evidence submitted in the Italian court. Some of the documents are still being translated from Italian to English. We have also asked Ministry of Defence to get a copy of the judgment of the Milan Court of Appeals. We will see how it can be of help to us,” a senior ED officer said.

The agency too has sent letters rogatory to Tunisia, Italy, UK, Switzerland, UAE, Mauritius, Israel, Finland, Singapore and Denmark. According to ED sources, however, Michel is still in Dubai.



  • Related News
  • Congress nominates AK Antony for Rajya Sabha election from Kerala.

    Congress state president, V M Sudheeran, on Saturday said the party has decided to field Antony as the candidate for RS elections.. A K Antony

    Former Defence Minister A K Antony will be the Congress candidate f...

    India 2016-03-05 11:30:49

    Situation did go out of control govt takes collective responsibility for any lapse: Captain Abhimanyu.

    During the agitation, properties, establishments and a house owned by Abhimanyu’s family were also torched by protesters in Rohtak. . Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu at The Indian Express office in...

    India 2016-03-05 10:10:50

    Govt failed to anticipate scale of stir, says Haryana minister on Jat quota agitation.

    He added that the government has taken “collective responsibility” for the absence of an immediate administrative response to prevent the situation from getting out of control.. Haryana Finance Minister...

    India 2016-03-05 04:21:11

    Environment agencies cavalier, force courts to intervene: CJI.

    CJI Thakur said the Supreme Court would have had little role to play had the government agencies been doing their job properly.. Chief Justice T S Thakur

    WITH PRIME Minister Narendra Modi and Environment Minist...

    India 2016-03-05 04:17:44

    Assam board exam answer-sheets gutted in fire.

    Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Vasant Vishal Solanki said preliminary inquiries did not show any apparent sign of accidental fire occurring due to an electricity short circuit. .

    The Assam government Friday ordered...

    India 2016-03-05 04:13:41

    Sukma: 3 CRPF men killed in encounter with Maoists.

    Officials said while two commandos, identified as constables Linju N and Fateh Singh had succumbed to their bullet injuries on Thursday, their collegaue Lakshman Singh died on Friday..

    Three CRPF personnel have...

    India 2016-03-05 04:10:33

    Gujarat Quota stir: Man takes own life to make govt wiser.

    Upleta town also observed a bandh while its major villages like Bhayavadar and Moti Paneli remained shut as well..

    Upleta and Dhoraji towns of Rajkot remained shut on Friday to mourn death of a youth who had al...

    India 2016-03-05 04:00:30

    Asaram case: SC declines to order CBI probe into missing witnesses.

    A bench of justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh Goel said it could be raised before the Allahabad High Court as complaints on it have been lodged in Uttar Pradesh. . Asaram Bapu

    The Supreme Court Friday declined to ...

    India 2016-03-05 03:57:26

    Several complaints later, HRD Ministry moves to sack Pondicherry varsity V-C.

    Sources said the HRD Ministry has decided to process Krishnamurthy’s case as it has given her enough opportunity to present her side of the case.. Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

    Emboldened by the Presid...

    India 2016-03-05 03:53:23

    Old meets new in riot shadow: pro-minority seen as anti-national.

    Today it’s India vs Pak within country, not just on borders, says BJP MLA.. At a refugee camp in Muzaffarnagar. Express archive

    In Muzaffarnagar, BJP-ABVP have taken out no marches on the JNU issue so far...

    India 2016-03-05 03:47:43


    When I leave office, I will speak of it more freely: Arvind Subramanian. Gives examples from history

    How a country deals with its social divisions plays a major role in the trajectory of its economic developmen...

    India 2016-03-05 03:41:56

    Inquiry clears her but Leftist Allahabad University student head faces exit.

    While the report concludes that Singh’s seat should have gone to a reserved candidate, it makes clear that the “mistake” was committed by university staff involved in the selection process.. The i...

    India 2016-03-05 02:50:19

    The more Rohiths you kill, more will emerge from every house: Kanhaiya Kumar.

    Kanhaiya Kumar: "I am not a politician, I am a student. I have no intention of joining mainstream politics or contesting any election." . JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar with the union Vice President Shehla Rashid a...

    India 2016-03-05 02:30:35

    Indian nun among 16 killed by gunmen in Yemen; victims handcuffed, shot in the head.

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj urges Indians in ‘such danger zones’ to return home . Security forces at the retirement home in Aden, Friday. (AP Photo)

    An Indian nun was among 16 peopl...

    India 2016-03-05 02:24:43

    Sexual harassment case: Delhi HC dismisses plea to cancel R K Pachauris bail.

    The court said that "very cogent and overwhelming circumstances" were necessary for an order of cancellation of bail which has already been granted.. The court said while granting relief to R K Pachauri, the trial ...

    India 2016-03-05 02:08:04

    MP: House panel to help students deal with exam stress.

    Stressing on the need of moral education, yoga and meditation, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said sports period will be made compulsory in schools..

    Madhya Pradesh Assembly Friday unanimously decided to form a House...

    India 2016-03-05 01:54:46

    Bihar: Oppn attacks Nitish govt as Tej Pratap skips House session again.

    When JD(U)’s Phulwari Sharif MLA Shyam Rajak asked a question as to why the sex ratio in Bihar was increasing, rural development minister Shravan Kumar stood up to answer. .

    The Opposition BJP Friday targ...

    India 2016-03-05 01:52:48

    After PA Sangmas death, 7-day mourning in Meghalaya.

    In Shillong, where the Meghalaya assembly’s budget session had just begun, Speaker Abu Taher Mondal broke the news after Governor’s address and adjourned the House for the day..

    The demise of Meghal...

    India 2016-03-05 01:46:04

    Sumitra Mahajan recalls PA Sangma: He would try wit, humour and silence, whichever way it worked.

    After he ceased being the Speaker, Sangmaji never used his erstwhile position to seek time in the House for speaking.. PM Narendra Modi, Sumitra Mahajan pays last respects to former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma at ...

    India 2016-03-05 01:40:41

    PA Sangma: Remembered, an important voice of the Northeast.

    Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders today condoled the death of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma.. Former Lok Sabha speaker P. A. Sangma

    Terming his contribution in the deve...

    India 2016-03-05 01:23:38