Investigators to confront Michel with documents

Investigators to confront Michel with documents

Christian Michel. (PTI Photo)

Suspected middleman Christian Michel may be stonewalling CBI queries on AgustaWestland payments but the investigators are planning to confront him with documents recovered during the raids in Switzerland where a controversial diary was seized indicating about payments to Indian politicians and bureaucrats.

The investigators are also planning to confront Michel, who was extradited to India from Dubai on Tuesday night, with details of frequent travel by some of the accused in the AgustaWestland scam to Dubai where he was based, sources said.

The diary was recovered from another middleman Ralph Guido Haschke by the Swizz authorities and placed before the Italian courts, which went into the case.

The contents of the diary, which had initials like "Fam" and "AP", had created a political storm in India earlier with the BJP alleging that the payments were meant for Sonia Gandhi's family and that her then political secretary Ahmed Patel.

During questioning, sources said, Michel has denied maintaining any diary and claimed that it was the job of Haschke. Investigators said he was aggressive and hotly denied any links.

The investigators also said they have documentary proof to suggest that Michel had reduced his commission from 42.27 million Euros to 30 million Euros apparently to help payment to the "Fam" mentioned in the diary.

After receiving the amount from M/s AgustaWestland in two accounts, investigators claimed that he executed sham contracts to route the money to the beneficiaries.

Sources said they are also planning to confront him with details of frequent travels by one of the accused lawyer Gautam Khaitan to Dubai, and ascertain the content of deliberations. Khaitan is learnt to have travelled around 50 times to Dubai when the negotiations for the deal were happening.

The CBI is planning to extradite Haschke along with another suspected broker Carlo Gerosa. Italy had earlier declined to extradite Gerosa.

Sources said one cannot compare their case with Michel as the latter had never appeared before any court of law or get examined. "It may be difficult to get the duo, but we will keep trying," a senior official said.

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