Tuesday 24 November 2020

CBI files supplementary charge sheet in AgustaWestland case

- Posted on 19 September 2020

NEW DELHI, SEP 19 : The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a supplementary charge sheet against 15 accused, including alleged middleman Christian Michel and accused-turned-approver Rajiv Saxena, in connection with the alleged corruption in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

The charge sheet filed before Special Judge Arvind Kumar in Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court, does not name former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, according to the sources. On September 11, the probe agency had sought sanctions to prosecute him.

The Special Judge has now listed the matter for September 21 for consideration of the supplementary charge sheet. The first charge sheet in the case was filed in September 2017.

The case pertains to buying of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by Italian defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica (now known as the group) at an estimated cost of Rs 3,600 crore for ferrying VVIPs. In the deal, bribes were allegedly paid to middlemen and others. The purchase was cleared in 2010 by the then UPA government.

On January 1, 2014, India cancelled the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and on charges of paying kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.

The CBI, which registered an FIR in the case on March 12, 2013, had alleged that former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi, some of his relatives and the other accused received kickbacks from AgustaWestland to help it win the contract.

The CBI probe revealed that several payments were made to the Tyagis by alleged middlemen Guido Haschke, Carlo Gerosa and Christian Michel.

Indian investigative agencies in December 2018 arrested British national Michel after he was handed over by the UAE and he has been in judicial custody since then. Dubai-based businessman Saxena was extradited to India on January 31, 2019 in connection with the case.

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