New Delhi, June 20: The Enforcement Directorate on Monday conducted several raids across Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, in relation to the multi-million dollar AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper Scam. The officials of ED reportedly conducted the raids, but the identity of the people, at whose places the raids were conducted is not known yet. Consequently, the agency has frozen shares worth Rs 86.07 crore owned by various companies based in Dubai, Mauritius and Singapore. The agency had last week filed a charge sheet against middleman Christian Michel and two others in the case.
Earlier this month, the agency had also conducted searches at the premises in the city of Suraj Prakash Mehra, a businessman who was allegedly in contact with Michel. Michel has been accused of working at the behest of AgustaWestland and it’s parent company- the Italy based defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica. Michel allegedly negotiated between Indian officials and politicians and helped AgustaWestland to land the deal to manufacture choppers to ferry VVIPs like the Prime Minister and the President from one place to another. ALSO READ: AgustaWestland Chopper Scam: Middleman James Michel speaks to Indian media; says he has to rescue Gandhis to rescue himself!
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had this month constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to fast track the probe in both the scam and the loan defaulting case of Vijay Mallya. The SIT is headed by CBI’s Additional Director Rakesh Asthana, a 1984 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, who headed the state SIT that went into the burning of Sabarmati Express train at Godhra in February 2002. Asthana was also associated with probing the Fodder Scam in Bihar.