AgustaWestland case: Met former IAF chief SP Tyagi but never Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh, says middleman Christian Michel
Christian Michel, the middleman has said that the only person related to Agusta that he ever met is former IAF chief Colonel SP Tyagi, as per a media report.
Delhi: Christian Michel, the middleman has said that the only person related to Agusta that he ever met is former IAF chief Colonel SP Tyagi, as per a media report.
In an interview to India Today TV, Michel also said, when asked if he ever met top Congress leaders to push for the chopper deal, that he had never met Sonia Gandhi or former PM Manmohan Singh.
He was quoted by the TV channel as saying, "No, never. I have never met Sonia Gandhi. Never met Manmohan Singh or AK Antony. Congress never interfered in Agusta deal. I avoid meeting leaders, my expertise is implementation."
At the same time he added, "Subramanian Swamy has been misled on Agusta specifics. He (Swamy) has authenticated (documents) what was given in the CAG report. The CAG report was prepared in great hurry as the deal was always blowing away. They (CAG) are not aviation experts and they are bureaucrats asked to put together document way beyond their expertise."
However, he did acknowledge meeting former Tyagi and told the TV channel, "I probably met ex-Air chief SP Tyagi in Gymkhana club. Met Tyagi and others and I wasn't keen on them. I was introduced to Julie Tyagi as a powerful industrialist. Julie is a very nice man. He didn't promise me of any deal. I was very nervous of them. I think Tyagi was used as a tool for Haschke to get inside AgustaWestland. I don't think he can play any major role."
On the other hand, he pointed out, "I can't say there were no kickbacks. Gautam Khaitan is certainly the brain behind the scandal. He was responsible for moving the money. He knows everything."
Michel is one of three alleged middlemen whom the Indian investigating agencies suspect to have brokered the VVIP chopper deal in favour of UK-based AgustaWestland.
Both Central Bureau of Investigation and ED have notified Michel under the Interpol Red Corner Notice.
The controversial deal and the alleged bribes to the tune of Rs 120 crore paid in clinching it for AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italian defence giant Finmeccanica, has triggered a political slugfest between BJP and Congress.
CBI and ED have also questioned Tyagi in connection with the deal. CBI had in 2013 registered a case in connection with alleged bribes paid by the firm to Indians to clinch the deal.