In a stunning revelation, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has claimed that the father of Christian Michel – alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper case – “knew” late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and was “close to the Gandhi family.” The probe agency made these remarks in Michel’s remand copy submitted to the court, citing Michel’s statement .
As per the remand documents, accessed by Times Now, CBI said that Christian’s father Wolfgang Michel, was a consultant of Westland Helicopters to Government of India in the 1970s. The probe agency informed the court that Christian claimed that his father had told him that he used to meet the Gandhis, a fact that was also told to Christian by people close to his father. “His father knew late Indra Gandhi since 1970s and was very close to Gandhi family,” read the document.
The CBI document further referenced to an incident in 1982-83 when a question was raised in the Indian Parliament regarding the identity of ‘Mr Wolfgang Michel”. The then PM Indira Gandhi is said to have replied that she “considered him as a friend of India”, as per the CBI’s remand papers
After months of legal hassle, CBI was finally able to get Michel’s custody after a Dubai court allowed his extradition to India earlier in December. Michel had been wanted in India over allegations that he paid kickbacks to Indian officials in order to sway the deal for the procurement of 12 VVIP choppers in favour of AgustaWestland. The choppers were to be used to ferry the President, Prime Minister and other important dignitaries.
Meanwhile, in its remand petition filed in the court, the CBI has said that it needed Michael in custodial remand so as to ascertain role of foreign accused persons and their contact persons in India as well as to him with the voluminous incriminating documents received from Italy and Switzerland. They also need Michel to determine names and roles of the serving IAF and other public servants who may have dealt with the procurement process of VVIP helicopters and shared classified information with him
“Christian Michel had been the consultant of Agusta Westland and before that he was the consultant for Westland helicopters Ltd long before the merger of the two companies,” CBI said. It added that during questioning, Michel revealed that his father had participated in defence deals and had known Gandhis personally.
The documents submitted by the probe agency showed that Michel played a key role in the VVIP Chopper scam, Times Now reported. It added that Michel “was instrumental in avoiding the single vendor situation in collusion with the Ministry of Defene (MOD) and Indian Air Force (IAF) officials”.