TNI Bureau: While the factsheet prepared by the UPA government mentioned President Paranb Mukherjee’s name in the AgustaWestland Chopper scam, Italian media hinted at Congress’ link in the deal. According to Italian newspaper ‘Lettera 43’, the main commission agent Christian Michel’s late father Wolfgang Max Michel Richard was close to the Congress.
The newspaper claimed that Guido Ralph Haschke, another middleman, was the Director of Emaar-MGF, a real estate company owned by relatives of Kanishka Singh, who is believed to be Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s close aide.
Michel was described as “mysterious” British citizen. He was agent of Dassault, which was the lowest bidder for India’s chopper deal. He was also described as “Man of Bears” by the Italian media.
According to the Italian newspaper report on November 20, 2012, Michel had received 60 per cent (around Rs. 210 crore) from the Italian defence firm Finmeccanica, which manufactures of AgustaWestland choppers.
The report said that the CEO of Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi, and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini had paid 30 million Euros (Rs. 217 crore) to Michel to bag the contract from India.
“Born in 1961, Michel is little known to the public. On the internet, there are no evidences of his business or his statement. Not a photo or an interview. Yet, Michel is very well introduced in Defence establishments in New Delhi,” says the Italian newspaper report titled “Christian Michel, the English middleman of Finmeccanica.”
“His contacts are stronger especially with the Indian Defence, that he has inherited from his father, Wolfgang Max Michel Richard, a British businessman who was very active in India between 80s and 90s and was close to the Congress party,” the reports says.
Pranab might not be in trouble as he is enjoying the constitutional immunity, but the BJP may take advantage of the Italian media report by dragging Rahul into this controversy.