Nation Current Affairs 04 May 2016 AgustaWestland deal: ...

AgustaWestland deal: Middleman Christian Michel not to turn approver

DECCAN CHRONICLE WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published May 4, 2016, 2:52 am IST
Updated May 4, 2016, 9:03 am IST
Middleman says never met Gandhis; Tyagi admits meeting Finmeccanica officer.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi during the Parliament session in New Delhi on Tuesday 	(Photo—PTI)
 Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi during the Parliament session in New Delhi on Tuesday (Photo—PTI)

New Delhi: Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the controversial AgustaWestland chopper deal, is ready to come to India and face investigators provided he gets an assurance he will not be arrested, his lawyer Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos said today.

Anjos also said that Michel is living in Dubai and is willing to speak the “truth”.
“He has arrest warrant and that is why he can't go to India. He is not free to go. He would like to go and answer everything and tell the truth but not with arrest warrant,” Anjos said from Milan.

 

She said Michel is available to answer all questions in front of a judge but he must be assured that he is not going to be arrested. Anjos said if her client gets formal invitation from Indian authorities and assurance that he will not be arrested then he will have to go to India and answer all the questions.

However, the Italian middleman has told a news magazine that “turning approver was out of question”. Michel, denying his lawyer’s claim, said, “I am ready to submit documents and proof related to the case through the Indian embassy,” adding that he “will be hiring an Indian lawyer very soon” and was “willing to move Indian courts very soon.”

 

Michel also made it clear that he had never met the Gandhi (Sonia and Rahul) family ever. He said, “I have sued Hascke and am willing to give proof.”
Meanwhile, former IAF Chief S.P. Tyagi was on Tuesday questioned by CBI for the second consecutive day as part of the probe into the controversial AgustaWestland helicopter deal with the agency claiming he has accepted having met a senior functionary of the firm’s Italian-based parent company Finme-ccanica.

Tyagi, who has been named in the CBI case registered in March 2013, was summoned to the agency headquarters again on Tuesday during which he was shown some visitor diary entries and other documents. He was questioned for nearly nine hours.

 

While the CBI was not willing to come on record on Tuesday’s questioning, sources in the agency claimed that Tyagi has accepted that he had a meeting with Chief Operating Officer of Finmeccanica Georgio Zapa in Delhi on February 15, 2005 when he was the IAF chief after he was shown various documents including diary entries and visitors register.

The sources claimed that Tyagi was evasive on Monday when asked about his meetings with representatives of Fin-meccanica or Agusta-Westland but after “persistent questioning” he accepted that a meeting did take place. The sources did not clarify if it was an official meeting but their reference to visitors diary suggested it was in the records.

 

The deliberations to alter specifications of the VVIP chopper--flying ceiling of 6,000 metres and a cabinet height of 1.8 metres--started from March, 2005 in which senior officials of Indian Air Force, Prime Minister's Office and Defence Ministry had participated, according to Government records.

These deliberations continued till September 2006 and suggestions to reduce the flying ceiling were accepted which brought Finmeccanica's subsidiary Agusta-Westland’s helicopter in contention for the deal to sell 12 VVIP choppers to India.

 

Tyagi, who has been acquitted by an Italian court last year in June, was not immediately available for comments. However, he has always denied any involvement in the case. CBI, which started investigations in 2013, is also claiming that it is still examining travel details of Tyagi and his meetings besides sources of funding for his travels.

The sources claimed that while the agency had come to know about three Noida-based companies owned by the former air chief he has accepted ownership of one more company by him and his wife.

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Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi




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