New Delhi, April 27: Finmeccanica, the Italian firm which manufactures VVIP Agusta Westland choppers had invited a group of Indian journalists to Italy in 2013. Interestingly, the scribe who allegedly unearthed the scandal was also part of the delegate of journalists who went on the fully paid trip.
The visit was arranged by British national Christian Michel, who was acting as the middlemen of Finmeccanica in India. The Italian company had provided him to 30 million pounds which were to be used as kickbacks, commissions and bribes to swing the deal in their favour. (ALSO READ: AgustaWestland VVIP Choppergate: All you need to know about $ 450 million scam which has come back to haunt Sonia Gandhi)
The journalist in question was working for a Hindi channel. However, the scam was unearthed by him on behalf of investigative magazine Force.
Enforcement Directorate has questioned the journalists who were involved part of the paid trip. The role of the investigative journalist has been put under scanner. Although, he was considered to be the one behind unearthing the Rs 3,600 crore scandal, his acceptance of the paid hospitality offered by middleman Michel on behalf of Finmeccanica has raised doubts that he was turned one among the beneficiaries.
The Agusta Westland scandal came back into limelight after an Italian court, earlier in the month, observed that “corruption took place” in the deal between the erstwhile Indian government and Finmeccanica. The names of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and her political secretary Ahmed Patel was also mentioned in the 651-page court order.
Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party brought the matter in the Parliament and has demanded Congress to reveal the names of all those politicians and bureaucrats who were beneficiaries in the scam.