A day after a supplementary chargesheet mentioned Congress leader Ahmed Patel and “Mrs Gandhi” reportedly identified by Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal case moved a Delhi court Friday claiming that he has not named anybody before the probe agency.
He also alleged that the central government was using agencies for political agenda.
Michel’s counsel claimed that the copy of the charge sheet was provided to the media before it was provided to Michel.
Advocate Aljo K Joseph, who has filed plea on Michel’s behalf, claimed that “he (Michel) never named anyone”.
In his plea, Michel has questioned how the charge sheet was leaked to the media even before its cognisance was taken by the court.
The matter will come up for hearing on April 6.
The ED had said that Michel had identified the initials “AP” as Ahmed Patel of the Congress party in a chargesheet filed before a Delhi court.
The chargesheet also mentioned “Mrs Gandhi”, but had not named her as an accused in the case, sources said. However, it was not clear who “Mrs Gandhi” is and in which context her name was mentioned.
The agency, in its supplementary chargesheet filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), said: “a part of kickback was paid to defence officials, bureaucrats, media persons and important political persons of the ruling party” when the deal was being struck.
The chargesheet said according to the “budget sheet, 30 million euros were paid to Air Force officers, bureaucrats and politicians” to swing the deal in the favour of AgustaWestland for purchasing the choppers to ferry VVIPs across the country.
“The recipients of the kickback include several categories of persons namely Air Force officials, bureaucrats including defence ministry officials and top political leaders of the then ruling party. As per Christian Michel James, ‘AP’ means Ahmed Patel and ‘Fam’ means Family,” the ED said.
At another place in the chargesheet, Michel said, “I cannot say what Haschke was thinking. As a guess, I would think he was talking about Ahmed Patel.”
Regarding “Fam”, he said it “could mean family”.
While the identity of the said Ahmed Patel is not clear, it is understood that it refers to the senior Congress leader. The veteran leader has not been named in the PMLA FIR of the case. Patel in the past has denied any wrongdoing in the case.
The ED has also mentioned names of three Indian journalists in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal supplementary chargesheet.
The ED said the kickback paid by the Anglo-Italian firm in the case was “at least about 12 per cent of the contract amount” and around 70 million euros were paid through the two middlemen involved in the case — Michel and Guido Haschke.
Slamming the probe agency, the Congress said the ED has become “a deceiving agent of a government that manufactures lies every day”. It said the “leaked page of a purported ED chargesheet was a cheap election stunt to divert attention from the imminent defeat of the BJP government” in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
(With agency inputs)