Middleman targeted Sonia, PM, top leaders in VVIP copter scam

Middleman targeted Sonia, PM, top leaders in VVIP copter scam

One of the alleged middlemen in the VVIP chopper scam had asked a contact in India to target United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then National Security Adviser M K Narayanan to bag the deal, according to a document submitted in an Italian court.

It has come to light that Christian Michel–alleged to be the main middleman involved in the chopper scam–had sent a fax to one of his contacts, 

who was allegedly working with AgustaWestland’s India office, in this regard, official sources said quoting the 

document recovered by the Italian police and produced before the court there in early January.

Michel is said to have asked his contact named Peter Fullet to target Sonia, Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, Veerappa Moily, Oscar Fernandes, Narayanan and one Vinay Singh for bagging the deal. In the document, the middleman has asked his contact to direct the High Commissioner of his native country to target “Sonia Gandhi and her closest advisers”, they said.

According to sources, he also said that Sonia would not be flying anymore in the Mi-8 choppers and “she was the driving force behind the VIP”, without elaborating. 

The note, which was reproduced by an Italian newspaper, was part of documents produced by the investigators in the court. This was one among the many documents reportedly seized from the office of Switzerland-based middleman Guido Haschke, who is currently facing trial in the case of alleged 51 million euro kickbacks generated in the VVIP helicopter deal.

The note has been shared by the Italian authorities with their Indian counterparts.Earlier, another note had emerged which seemed to be a draft budget which suggested that Haschke had allocated on paper funds to be given to people with initials AP, JS Air and FAM. India has scrapped the tender and has sought to levy penalties and damages worth more than Rs 5,200 crore. The Indian Air Force is now preparing its other aircraft to meet the requirements of flying VVIPs. 

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