The CBI has filed a supplementary chargesheet in the AgustaWestland scam against middlemen Christian Michel James, Rajiv Saxena and 13 others, officials said on Saturday (September 19).
The latest chargesheet details the alleged role played by British middleman James in bringing bribes for politicians, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force officials in India in the ₹3,727-crore scandal.
The second chargesheet was filed on Friday which does not name any politician or senior bureaucrat. The first chargesheet in the case was filed in September 2017 naming former IAF chief S P Tyagi and others.
In its first chargesheet, the Central agency claimed to have established a “money trail” of 62 million euros (around ₹ 415 crore) out of suspected 67 million euros (₹ 452 crore) total bribe paid to Indians through middlemen. According to the agency, the irregularities in the award of contract to AgustaWestland led to an estimated loss of 398.21 million euros (around ₹ 2,666 crore) to the government in the 556.262 million euros (₹ 3,726.9 crore) contract.
The agency had, in March this year, sought to prosecute former defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, former Air vice marshal Jasbir Singh Panesar and three other IAF officers — deputy chief test pilot SA Kunte, wing commander Thomas Mathew and former group captain N Santosh, However, it decided to file a chargesheet without naming them as the Ministry of Defence is yet to give its sanction.
Rajiv Saxena was brought from Dubai in January 2019 and made an approver by the Enforcement Directorate in the case but the agency later sought revocation of this status saying he misled the investigators. The ED had claimed that Saxena is a ‘hawala operator’ who ran the accommodation entry business in Dubai through numerous companies known as Matrix Group companies and laundered proceeds of crime in the cases of AgustaWestland scam, or VVIP chopper scam.
Michel was extradited on December 4, 2018 from Dubai. He was allegedly paid 42 million euros (₹ 295 crore) bribe by Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland for further paying to Indian politicians, bureaucrats and Defence Ministry personnel for swinging the deal for 12 VVIP choppers in favour of the company.