CBI to quiz Christian Michel as witness in another defence deal

Christian Michel

A Delhi Court on Saturday permitted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to question the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland deal, Christian Michel, as a witness in another defence deal case for two days.

Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar permitted the prosecution agency to quiz Michel in Tihar on December 5 and 6 during office hours.

The agency which is probing an alleged case of corruption against Brigadier V.S. Saini, the then Officer-in-charge of the trial team of the proposed procurement of 197 Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) Helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces Army Aviation and Air Force in 2008, sought court’s permission to interrogate Michel as a witness in the case.

According to the CBI, Saini had allegedly abused his official position and allowed the different variety of AgustaWestland, which was one of the three bidders, to participate in the evaluation trials of helicopters and also wrote letter to the Weapon and Equipment Directorate in favour of the company.

The prosecution agency has told the court that Michel would help in unearthing the facts related to the demand of $ 5 million by Saini for releasing Field Technical Report in favour of AgustaWestland.

The CBI has cited an unsigned memorandum that was recovered during searches from the residence of Guido Ralph Hashcke’s mother in 2010 by the Swiss authorities.

“The contents of the aforesaid memorandum dated January 18, 2010 was written in India and then transcribed on his laptop based on the information collected by Michel,” the agency said in its application.

Michel is undergoing judicial custody for his alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland defence deal case.

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