After the high drama over Christian Michel's custodial interrogation in connection with AgustaWestland scam unfolded this afternoon, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said that they will question the alleged 'middleman' regarding purported creation of "shell firms" in India and abroad to launder bribe money, according to officials.
The ED is expected to either seek fresh custody of Michel or move an application for questioning of the accused alongside the CBI under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The central probe agency may also file a fresh (supplementary) charge sheet in this case detailing the role of other accused.
Apart from Michel, 57, two other middlemen - Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa are being probed by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection to the same. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress leader Ahmed Patel are also accused in the case.
Earlier in 2016, the ED filed a charge sheet against Michel, alleging that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from Agusta Westland.
Both the ED and the CBI had notified an Interpol Red Corner Notice after a UAE court issued an open non-bailable warrant against Michel. The Red Notice vide Control No A-9846/11-2015 against Michel was published on November 25, 2015 by INTERPOL Headquarter, Lyon, France.
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with 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 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.