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Who is ‘AP’? Mystery Man Figures in CBI’s 5 Questions to Christian Michel

Source said the questionnaire quizzes Christian Michel on the alleged bribe paid to the mysterious ‘AP’ and ‘FAM’.

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Updated:December 5, 2018, 2:15 PM IST
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Who is ‘AP’? Mystery Man Figures in CBI’s 5 Questions to Christian Michel
Agusta Westland scam accused middleman Michel Christian at CBI headquarters in New Delhi, on early Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.
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New Delhi: The CBI has handed a five-point questionnaire to Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, beginning with questions on the identities of the mysterious ‘AP’ and ‘FAM’.

Source said the questionnaire also quizzes Michel, who was extradited from Dubai late on Tuesday, on the alleged bribe paid to the two entities and about the suspected links with senior officials of the Indian Air Force.

Sources said the five questioned posed to Michel were:

- Who is 'AP' and 'FAM’? How much bribe was paid to them?
- Were you closely following the contract awarding process?
- What links did you have with senior Air Force officials?
- Did you receive kickbacks via the 5 fake contracts executed by you?
- Did you influence IAF officials to change height specifications to suit Agusta?

The initials ‘AP’ and ‘FAM’ had first figured in a note allegedly written by Guido Haschke, another middleman in the chopper deal. The note was also referred to when a court in Italy sent Finmeccanica's former CEO Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland ex-head Bruno Spagnolini to jail for false accounting and corruption. The BJP has alleged that ‘AP’ refers to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s close aide and Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel, while ‘FAM’ refers to the Gandhi family.

Michel will be produced at the Patiala House court complex later on Wednesday.

Michel, 54, landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on a Gulfstream jet at 10.35 pm on Tuesday after which he was arrested by the CBI in connection with the case.

Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI. Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

However, Michel had denied the charges.

The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (approximately Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.

The money was nothing but "kickbacks" paid by the firm to execute the 12 helicopter deal in favour of the firm in "guise of" genuine transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country, according to the charge sheet.

The ED investigation found that remittances made by Michel through his Dubai-based firm Global Services to a media firm he floated in Delhi, along with two Indians, were made from the funds which he got from AgustaWestland through "criminal activity" and corruption being done in the chopper deal that led to the subsequent generation of proceeds of crime.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.

The CBI on September 1, 2017, had filed a charge sheet in the case in which Michel was named as one of the accused.

Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi was also chargesheeted by the CBI in a Delhi Court along with nine others in connection with a bribery case in the VVIP chopper deal.
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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