Alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper case Christian Michel reportedly used top leaders of the Congress to mount pressure on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This was reveled in a letter Michel wrote to Giuseppe Orsi on August 28, 2009. Orsi is a former chief of Finmeccania (now Leonardo) -- the parent company of AgustaWestland. He was arrested in 2014 for allegedly paying bribes in exchange for a Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal to sell 12 AugustaWestland helicopters to India. In January this year, he was acquitted by an Italian court.
The ED told the court that, "We need to decipher who the "big man" referred to as "R" is in the communication between Christian Michel and other people. We need to confront Michel with other people to decipher who "the big man" or "R" is."
The letter also reveals that Michel was constantly getting information about the status of meetings of the government. It shows that Michel was aware of details of a meeting between Manmohan Singh and then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In the letter, Michel assured the then-AgustaWestland head that the agreement would be finalised soon. "We understand full [sic] the pressure A.W is under to conclude. We are now at the finish. I told you and the Air attache in London has confirmed to your company that at the next CCS meeting your project will be cleared. The CCS meeting is scheduled for next Thursday, the 3rd October," Michel wrote, according to India Today.
"Within three working days of that meeting you will be given a date to come and finalise. When we last spoke you asked which year we would sign and I fully understood your frustration as I had stated that it would be concluded in July," he said, and asked if he could now explain what went wrong.